Kansas Man Charged with Arson and Attempting to Ambush Firefighters

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has been charged with setting fire to his roommate's home and then attempting to kill the emergency workers who rescued him.

William J. Outhet Jr., 58, faces one count each of arson and attempted first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/Yy0ZD9). During a hearing Monday, his bond was set at $1 million. Conditions of being freed include that he "follow mental health recommendations, including taking of medication as prescribed."

Outhet wasn't able to attend the hearing because he was hospitalized. No one else was injured in the Feb. 1 incident. According to court documents, Outhet "staged" firearms around an Olathe home and fired a shotgun. Emergency responders were listed as the intended victims.

Ultimately, firefighters pulled Outhet from the home and rushed him to a hospital.

Outhet is being represented by the Johnson County Public Defender's Office. The office phone rang unanswered Tuesday.

"Clearly from the charges, his intent was to harm first responders," said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, who declined to discuss details of the investigation.

Howe said it was fortunate that no first responders were injured.

"It could have been really bad," he said.

Spokesmen for the Olathe police and fire departments, which conducted a joint investigation, also said they could not comment.

Shannon Laber, who said she was Outhet's former girlfriend, said Outhet was "doing better" physically and was recovering. She declined to discuss details of the situation.

Outhet's next court appearance is scheduled for March 7.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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