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Man arrested on suspicion of setting couple’s tent on fire in Santa Ana

James Anthony Lawlor, 35, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, arson of an inhabited structure and other charges.
(Santa Ana Police Department)

A 35-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of setting on fire a tent where two people were sleeping, Santa Ana police said.

The morning of Jan. 19, authorities said, James Anthony Lawlor approached the tent, which was pitched in a vacant lot, and told the occupants they had 15 minutes to leave. Otherwise, he told them, he’d come back with his Glock handgun, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.

When a man inside the tent popped his head out, police allege, Lawlor kicked him twice and then fled in a black truck.

About five minutes later, Lawlor returned, carrying a red gas container, police say. He then poured gasoline on the tent and set it on fire.

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The man and woman inside were able to flee. The man suffered some minor burns, as well as injuries from the two blows to his head.

Investigators arrested Lawlor at his home, and took him into custody on suspicion of attempted murder, arson of an inhabited structure and other charges.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek

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