PARMA HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Police held a news conference regarding last month's fire at Parma Heights City Hall on Wednesday to announce an update in the case.
Det. Sgt. Steve Scharschmidt of the
said Matthew John Janowski Jr., 30, of Parma Heights, turned himself in to authorities and has been charged in connection with the fire.
Janowski posted a comment on Facebook saying he was responsible for the fire. He actually showed up alone at the Parma Heights police headquarters to turn himself in.
"We were nearing the point where we were going to execute an arrest and last night he came into the station," said Scharschmidt.
Police say his motive was to protest a Ferguson grand jury for not charging the police officer who shot Michael Brown.
"During our investigation, it does appear the Ferguson riots may have played a role and stirred him up," said Scharschmidt.
Janowski was arraigned on Wednesday on one count of arson in Parma Municipal Court. His bond was set at $250,000. More charges are expected to be presented to the Cuyahoga County grand jury.
The fire was discovered by a police officer around 3 a.m. Parma Heights Fire Department responded to the scene. The blaze was quickly ruled arson. The fire was contained to the mayor's office, but there was some smoke damage to the rest of the building. Investigators said although the fire started in the mayor's office, the mayor was not a target.
"It's a great relief knowing that this gentleman is in custody. It was a personal attack on all the residents, attacking City Hall the way they did," said Mayor Michael Byrne.
No one was inside at the time and no one was injured.
The investigation is being conducted in conjunction with Parma Heights Police, Parma Heights Fire,
On Dec. 5, the
announced a reward of up to $5,000 by the
for information leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible for this crime. In addition, the
and ATF each offered a reward of up to $2,000 for information regarding the person or persons responsible, bringing the total possible reward to $9,000.
"Cooperation and shared services at the state, local and federal levels were instrumental in working this case," said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. "This is a textbook example of what can be accomplished when agencies pool their resources and work together."
Anyone with additional information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal's Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau at 1-800-589-2728 or the Cuyahoga County Crime Stoppers at 216-252-7463.