WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan man accused of burning down a vacant mobile home was taken into custody Monday following a standoff with police.
Christopher Baron, 45, was arrested for investigation of aggravated arson, burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and four counts of possession of an explosive device.
Investigators believe Baron went to an abandoned trailer near his house in the neighborhood at 3900 West and 8500 South on Sunday, poured kerosene in different areas around the structure and then lit it on fire, said West Jordan Police Lt. JC Holt. The mobile home was a total loss.
After developing information that Baron might be responsible for the fire, officers went to his house on Monday. He was spotted walking to his mailbox with a gun in his hand, and then ran back into his house when officers attempted to question him, Holt said.
"Officers observed Baron inside walking around with what appeared to be a handgun. Baron wouldn’t respond to officer’s request to answer the door," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
A SWAT team was called and attempted to make contact with Baron. But Holt said when Baron refused to respond, a search warrant was obtained. The standoff lasted about four hours, but ended quickly after investigators got the warrant. As SWAT members entered the house, Baron surrendered without incident, Holt said. No one was injured.
"A search of the home found seven rifles, three handguns and a bow. In the attached garage, officers found what appeared to (be) four Molotov cocktails. These are bottles that appeared to be filled with a flammable substance with an improvised fuse," the report states. "When Baron was asked about these bottles he indicated that they were bombs that he made but never used."3 comments on this story
As for a motive for allegedly setting the vacant mobile home on fire, Holt said there was "no motive that we know of other than he struggles with mental health issues and hasn't been taking his medication."
In August, Baron took a plea in abeyance, pleading guilty to aggravated assault, according to court records. In exchange, a charge of illegally carrying a gun was dismissed. Baron was charged with pointing a gun at two juveniles driving a car on 9000 South who had honked at him for standing in the road. As part of the plea deal, Baron was ordered to a mental health and substance abuse evaluation, according to court records.