Elkridge man charged with attempted murder in arson

Howard County police have charged an Elkridge man with attempted murder after he set his residence on fire with two other occupants inside on March 17. No one was injured.

Brener Alfredo Mendoza-Mendez, 31, is charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder; first- and second-degree arson; first- and second-degree assault; and reckless endangerment. He also is charged with animal cruelty as a pet dog perished in the fire. He is being held without bond at the Howard County Detention Center.

Police and Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (HCDFRS) personnel responded to a trailer fire in the 8000 block of Joetta Drive in Elkridge. Upon arrival, the trailer was fully involved with fire. It took fire personnel approximately one hour to extinguish the trailer, which was posted as uninhabitable. Police located a woman outside who reported that she and a 5-year-old child had evacuated the home.

Through investigation, police determined that Mendoza-Mendez was renting a room in the trailer. Detectives learned that Mendoza-Mendez was observed pouring a liquid inside the home and setting it on fire. Police and HCDFRS Office of the Fire Marshal officials determined that the liquid was gasoline and the cause of the fire was arson.

Police located Mendoza-Mendez outside the trailer at the time of the incident. He was initially transported to the hospital to be treated for health issues unrelated to the fire. When doctors cleared him for release on March 29, police transported him to the booking center for charges. Detectives are still investigating the motive.

The Red Cross assisted four adults and two children who had been living at the residence and were displaced by the fire.

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Scott E

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