Arrest - Photo courtesy of Kindel Media on Pexels

A 25-year-old man allegedly started a fire inside the Hemet Police Station Wednesday, causing damage and culminating in a fight between the suspect and several officers, who ultimately subdued him.

Bryan Alfaro of Fontana was arrested and booked into the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on Wednesday morning on suspicion of arson, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest. Alfaro is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

According to Hemet police Lt. Dan Reinbolt, at about 3:50 a.m., the suspect entered the police station lobby at 450 E. Latham Ave. and immediately set about vandalizing the property.

Reinbolt said the suspect used a “sharp object to scratch letters and shapes into the drywall,” after which he piled up loose papers in the space and pushed them through a slot under the safety glass partition at the counter, which was closed.

“(He) then lit those papers on fire,” the lieutenant said.

Three officers spotted the activity via a closed-circuit monitor inside the station, and one of them ran to douse the flames, while the other two chased Alfaro, who bolted out of the building after allegedly igniting the fire, according to Reinbolt.

“When the officers attempted to detain Alfaro … he immediately resisted and began physically fighting the officers,” Reinbolt said. “During the struggle, Alfaro punched one officer in the face and attempted to remove another officer’s handgun from its holster. Alfaro was overpowered and taken into custody.”

The suspect suffered a laceration near his left eye, requiring medical treatment. He was booked into the Banning jail at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The fire was quickly extinguished by the responding officer.

Reinbolt said damage to the station included punctures to the lobby wall and thermal decomposition of the safety glass on the counter, where the suspect allegedly started the fire.

Background information on Alfaro was unavailable.

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