People in the Memorial West section of Houston are breathing sighs of relief after investigators arrest two arson suspects.
"I'm just glad they've been caught before someone got hurt really bad or killed. I'm just so glad they got caught," said Crystal Smith, who got burned out of her unit at the Sheffield Square Apartments on Jan. 6.
Investigators have charged Xavier Knight with one count of arson and his 16-year-old accomplice with two. The following is an excerpt of the probable cause document filed against them:
Affiant Timothy Kelly employed as an Arson Investigator with the City of Houston Fire Department. Affiant has reason to believe and does believe that the Defendant, Xavier McKnight DOB 711/4311993, committed the offense of Arson on or about January 06, 2013 in Harris County, Texas.
Affiant is the initial and follow-up Investigator for the Houston Fire and Arson Division Case# 130013, a fire that occurred at 148 14 Perthshire (Sheffield Square Apartments) in the incorporated city limits of Houston, Harris County, Texas at approximately 42:04 on, or about January 06, 2013.
On January 06, 2013, Affiant responded to a structure fire at 14814 Perthshire. While investigating this structure fire 1 determined that a person ignited materials at hand to start a fire in an enclosed stairwell of building 429. While investigating this structure fire 1 learned from a resident that a phone book was set on fire in this stair well approximately three hours earlier during which the resident extinguished the fire. I also /earned of another stairwell fire that the Houston-Fire Department responded (Arson case 130012) that night in building #1 where another phone book was set on fire with minor damage. On February 18, 2013, Affiant-interviewed (redacted), a credible and reliable person, who stated that approximately two weeks ago she was walking from 14814 Perthshire and ran into Xavier McKnight, whom she knows by name and sight as her friend, and co-defendant affirms walking on the street. _________ asked (redacted) if she wanted to go to Sheffield Apartments (14814 Perthshire) with the two of them. (redacted) told the defendant and co-defendant that she just left there. (redacted) asked them why they were going. Co-defendant." .... pointed to defendant Xavier McKnight arid then to himself. He then responded to (redacted) stating that "We are the ones starting the fires". On February 19, 2013, Affiant interviewed Donovan Harris, a credible and reliable person, who stated that Xavier McKnight,. whom he knows by name and sight as his friend, told him that he is the one that started the fires in the stairwells at the Sheffield Square Apartments. The defendant stated that he started the fires using a lighter and phonebooks. The defendant and co-defendant started the first fire in the stairwell, but they put it out. The defendant and cc-defendant then returned later that evening and started another fire in the same enclosed stairwell, This time the fire grew too big and they were unable to put it out.
The fires were among the 11 fires set in the area. The targets ranged from apartments to garbage bins. McKnight lives in an apartment complex across the Perthshire from the Sheffield Apartments.
McKnight is due in court Thursday.