A convicted felon, whose body was found after a SWAT team fired in tear gas into a Lancaster home, and a fire broke out, was publicly identified Saturday by the Coroner’s Office.
The man was identified as Michael Leroy Soares, 35, of Lancaster, said Coroner’s Lt. David Smith.
It was still not clear how he died, or if the fire was ignited by tear gas canisters, which can create enough heat to start fires.
Soares’ body was found shortly before midnight Thursday at the scene of a fire in the 45000 block of Gadsden Avenue, according to the sheriff’s department.
A sheriff’s Special Weapons And Tactics Team was summoned to the location about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, after deputies had gone to the home to arrest “a known felon in possession of a firearm,” the sheriff’s department reported.
Soares — regarded as armed and dangerous — refused to surrender, and surrounding homes were evacuated, the sheriff’s department reported.
After continued negotiations failed to get him to surrender, “the Special Weapons Team introduced (tear) gas into the residence, and ultimately a fire began inside the location,” according to a sheriff’s statement.
SWAT deputies entered the residence about 11:45 p.m. Thursday, put out the fire and found the suspect dead, the statement said. The cause of death was not immediately released.
A sawed-off shotgun was found in the residence, the sheriff’s department reported.
—City News Service