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Air Force firefighter suspected of arson, stabbing child

Apr. 30, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Airman 1st Class Sterling William Robert Douglas
Airman 1st Class Sterling William Robert Douglas (Courtesy Sutter County Sheriff's Office)
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A Beale Air Force Base, California, firefighter is suspected of setting fire to two vehicles in his neighborhood, then stabbing a 13-year-old who chased him.

Airman 1st Class Sterling William Robert Douglas, with the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron, was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of arson, willful harm to a minor, receiving stolen property, loitering on private property, and breaking vehicle parts, according to his charge sheet. He was arraigned in Sutter County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to all charges, according to the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

Douglas, 20, was seen crouching behind a vehicle after he allegedly set two vehicles on fire in Yuba City, just outside of Sacramento, early Sunday morning, Yuba City Police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey told Air Force Times.

Residents of the 300 block of River Oaks Drive discovered that their Chevy G30 van and GMC Suburban were set on fire after they heard dogs barking and a car alarm going off, Pavey said.

The 13-year-old son of one of the residents noticed a man hiding behind another vehicle and chased after him with his father, Pavey said. When the boy caught up to Douglas, Douglas allegedly stabbed him in the chest.

“The boy recoiled back when [Douglas] stabbed him, so it wasn’t a very deep wound,” Pavey said. The boy’s father reportedly pinned Douglas down until police arrived. Medical personnel treated the boy at the scene and released him.

Doulgas “lives several houses away from the residents, but according to the residents, he doesn’t have any ties to them,” Pavey said.

Beale spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Siobhan Bennett said Douglas has been at the base for less than two years.

The incident is under investigation. The police department is awaiting results of a toxicology report.

Douglas is being held on a $300,000 bail at Sutter County Jail, according to the county sheriff’s office. His next court appearance is May 7.

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