Police: Man sets fire to home filled with mourners - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Police: Man sets fire to home filled with mourners

Clarence Ward Johnson (Photo courtesy Lincoln County Sheriff's Office). Clarence Ward Johnson (Photo courtesy Lincoln County Sheriff's Office).

STANLEY - A Lincoln County man was arrested after setting fire to a mobile home occupied by as many as 12 people who were gathered Monday night to mourn the death of a friend, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said.

Clarence Ward Johnson, 37, of the 2100 block of Hines Circle Road was charged with first degree arson, misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor failure to appear.

Deputies say Johnson assaulted a female around 8:15 p.m. Monday inside a home in the 5700 block of Clintwood Drive.

Related article: Woman charged after deadly hit and run in Lincoln Co.

She allegedly went into a bedroom to put a cell phone on a charger when the two began to struggle and had to be separated by other people at the home, deputies said.

According to the sheriff's office, the group of people had gathered in remembrance of Preston Lee Ward, 23, who died Sunday morning as the result of a hit and run incident.  

Shortly after Johnson was seen leaving the area around 9:40 p.m., the group smelled smoke inside the mobile home, the sheriff's office said. Everyone was able to get out of the home uninjured.

Firefighters responded to the blaze and quickly extinguished the small fire that reportedly caused minimum damage. 

Deputies located Johnson and arrested him on a the misdemeanor charges. He received the arson charge following a Tuesday morning interview. 

He was taken before a Lincoln County Magistrate and placed under a $24,500 secured bond.

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