A 46-year-old man accused of breaking into a Lake Elsinore business and igniting a fire, then attempting to harm himself and sheriff’s deputies, was charged Wednesday with arson, burglary and two counts of battery on a peace officer.
Jodie Michael Meza was arrested Monday and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, where he’s being held in lieu of $55,000 bail. He’s slated to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Thompson, deputies were alerted about 8 a.m. Monday to a break-in at a commercial outlet in the 2400 block of Lakeshore Drive, near Diamond Drive.
Meza allegedly crawled into the attic and ignited a fire in the space just before deputies arrived.
“Deputies attempted to arrest (Meza) and remove him from the building,” the sergeant said. “The suspect refused and attempted to hang himself.”
Deputies prevented Meza from completing the act and wrestled him into handcuffs just as firefighters began dousing the flames, according to Thompson.
He alleged that Meza struck the deputies as he was being cuffed.
The fire was quickly extinguished, and no one was injured.
The defendant has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.