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Anoka County man charged with assaulting 2 firefighters as house burned

Jon Tuma

ST. PAUL -- A rural Anoka County man was charged Friday, April 13, with felony arson and assault after he allegedly set an RV and a house on fire, then attacked two firefighters who responded to the scene earlier this week.

Jon Vernon Tuma, 39, of Linwood Township was charged with two counts of first-degree arson and two counts of second-degree assault Friday in Anoka County District Court. Bail was set at $1 million.

At about 5 p.m. Wednesday, Anoka County sheriff’s deputies and the Linwood Fire Department responded to a report of an RV fire on a property in the 5900 block of 213th Lane, according to the complaint.

As the firefighters were putting out the RV fire, they noticed smoke coming from the house on the property. Two firefighters went to investigate and encountered Tuma, the son of the homeowners. The firefighters, who evacuated the homeowners, then told Tuma to leave the house.

Tuma attacked one firefighter, punching him and hitting him with metal bookends, striking him in the head several times. When the other firefighter tried to intervene, Tuma attacked him with the bookends and bit him on the shoulder.

Tuma then ran out a balcony door and onto the roof of the house holding the bloodied bookends and a knife as the house burned around him. Eventually he jumped into a snowbank and was taken into custody.

Tuma’s father told deputies that after the RV fire, his son entered the house “acting crazy” and began setting the residence on fire.

The firefighters were taken to the hospital with significant head lacerations, which required numerous staples to close, the complaint said.

Tuma’s next hearing is set for May 10.

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