Homeless Man Charged with Arson in Pacific Palisades Fire in California

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The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged a homeless man, Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, on Tuesday with arson in connection with a large brush fire that erupted in the hills above Los Angeles and threatened the Pacific Palisades and Topanga.

Palisades Fire, as seen from Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, with Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in foreground, May 15, 2021. (Breitbart News)

Local ABC affiliate KABC-7 reported:

An arson suspect who had been in custody since Sunday in connection with the 1,158-acre brush fire in Pacific Palisades was identified Tuesday morning.

Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, was charged Tuesday with one felony count each of arson of a structure or forest and arson during a state of emergency, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

“Helicopter pilots had seen him make multiple sets and ID’ed him starting additional fires,” said Erik Scott, Los Angeles Fire Deparmtnet spokesperson. “So in fact we did have him, not just as an arson suspect, but we were able to completely ID and confirm that, and that’s why we arrested him.”

Roughly 1,000 residents were evacuated from the Topanga area, and residents in a part of Pacific Palisades were warned to prepared to evacuate before the fire was brought under control. As of Tuesday night, the fire was 47% contained and residents were allowed to return.

As Breitbart News reported, the firefighters used a parking lot near the beach to fight the blaze and inform the media.

Ironically, local L.A. City Council member Mike Bonin has proposed using that beach area for a “temporary” homeless shelter. Some residents are pushing for his recall over the idea.

In an interview with local Fox affiliate KTTV-11 on Tuesday, Bonin defended his policies, after the network noted that many homeless residents do not want to relocate.

Bonin said that the city and state would now have the budget to implement solutions to homelessness, “if people would stop road-blocking them.” Both Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom are proposing to pay for hotel rooms, and buy hotels, to move the homeless off the street.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that a majority of fires to which the local fire department has responded earlier this year are at homeless encampments.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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