Arsonist sentenced to 20 years

Richard Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years. Photo Source: Smith County
Richard Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years. Photo Source: Smith County

Released by the Tyler Fire Department:

Structure Fire: July 19, 2009 

On Sunday morning July 19 at approximately 7 a.m., the Tyler Fire Department responded to a two alarm fire near the intersection of Beckham Avenue and Valentine.  The structure was a resale shop with a heavy fuel load.  The estimated loss was $55,000.  The instability of the structure hindered the initial investigation.  However, the fire was ruled as suspicious with further investigation being conducted.

Arrest: July 31, 2009

On July 31, 2009, Tyler Police and Fire Marshals arrested suspected arsonist Richard Gonzalez in the 200 block of S. Fannin Street for the July 19 blaze at 825 N. Beckham St. in Tyler.  The two-alarm fire destroyed the building, which was being used as a resale shop.  Deputy Fire Marshal James Suggs said Gonzalez had been a suspect in the case after leaving physical evidence at the scene and a passerby saw him and his vehicle at the scene at the time of the fire.  Gonzalez was taken into custody without incident.

Update:  Dec. 17, 2009

Richard Gonzalez, the person suspected of setting fire to a structure at 825 N. Beckham on July 19, 2009, pled guilty to arson on December 16, 2009.  He was sentenced to 20 years in Judge Jack Skeen's 241st District Court.  Investigators with the Tyler Fire Marshal's Office and officers with the Tyler Police Department assisted in the investigation and apprehension of this individual.