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(MTN News-HELENA) A Helena suspect is in jail accused of trying to light his home on fire using a can of gas Sunday evening.

Christopher Allen Johns was arrested following a fight at a home on the 8000 block of Avocet Drive.

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says a witness called 911 at 8:15 p.m. saying Johns was trying to burn his house down.

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According to Dutton, Johns was experiencing a mental health crisis when he got into an argument earlier in the day with other members of the household.

Charging documents say Johns later entered the home with a can of gas, spreading the fuel on the floors and walls of the kitchen and dining area, saying, “You’re all going to die.”

Six people were home at the time, including three children.

Two adults in the home fought with Johns and broke a lighter he was holding.

The 40-year old allegedly fled the residence and was tackled outside and held down until law officers arrived.

Sheriff Leo Dutton commends the two civilians for fighting back. He says if they hadn’t, six people would have lost their lives.

“I am happy that they had the intestinal fortitude to tackle the guy,” said Dutton. “Even though, if they had not, they would have perished. So they had a decision to make, whether to let themselves and everyone else in the house die or take action and they chose an action. And the pinned him down and held him there until we got there.”

If convicted of felony attempted arson, Johns faces 20-years in the state prison and a fine of $50,000.

His bond has been set at $40,000.




REPORTER: Dennis Carlson
E-MAIL: dennis@kxlh.com