Penn Valley man’s threats to burn house, shoot deputies leads to arrest |

Penn Valley man’s threats to burn house, shoot deputies leads to arrest

Firefighters, Nevada County deputies and other emergency personnel work a scene on Penn Valley Drive, where authoriites say a suspect set fire to a home Wednesday evening.
Elias Funez/

The man threatened to set his Penn Valley home on fire.

Then, after pointing a replica AR-15 out his window, he did, Lt. Sean Scales said.

No officer or firefighter received injuries Wednesday evening after responding to the 22000 block of Penn Valley Drive. The man accused of setting the fire — 32-year-old Brent Morgan — was taken into custody after about 30 minutes. Authorities then took him to the hospital, where he remained Thursday, Scales said.

According to Scales, Morgan could face charges of felony vandalism and arson, as well as misdemeanor counts of brandishing a replica firearm and making threats.

Deputies responded around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday to the home and were told by a roommate that Morgan was inside, Scales said.

Deputies called out to Morgan, who was near a broken window, he added.

“He told them they would be shot if they entered the residence,” the lieutenant said.

Officers could see Morgan wielding what appeared to be an AR-15. Morgan then used the weapon to break more window glass before pointing it outside, Scales said.

Deputies took cover. Moments later they heard what Scales called a “pop,” and then saw smoke issuing from the window. Morgan came into sight and climbed through the window holding what officers thought was a weapon, the lieutenant said.

Officers ordered Morgan to drop his weapon, later determined to be a broom handle. He did and deputies then arrested him. Making vague statements, Morgan was taken to the hospital for treatment, Scales said.

Firefighters arrived and extinguished the house blaze in about 10 minutes, said Don Wagner, fire chief of the Penn Valley Fire Protection District.

The door to the room where the fire began was closed, which helped restrict the blaze’s size. That room received significant damage. Exterior areas near two windows also had damage, Wagner said.

Fire officials have no formal cause of the blaze. The investigation could take months.

Scales said a likely source of the fire came from the ignition of high octane fuel. Deputies found Morgan with a lighter, and several fuel canisters were spotted in the room.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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