Repeat criminal sets fire to tent with homeless man inside, prosecutors say

Repeat criminal sets fire to tent with homeless man inside, prosecutors say

SEATTLE — A Seattle man who lists a homeless shelter as his address was charged with first-degree arson in King County Superior Court.

The arson is alleged to have happened around 6:15 a.m. July 23 on Rainier Ave South in Seattle.

In charging documents, prosecutors said Jose Antonio Valdez-Quiroga, 39, set a tent on fire in a homeless encampment in a dispute over money.

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Police said on July 22, Valdez-Quiroga demanded another homeless man give him $40 and said he had until sunrise to give him the money.

Both men were living in an unsanctioned homeless encampment in the 2000 block of 24th Avenue South, police said in a probable cause document.

In the morning, police said the victim told Valdez-Quiroga he did not have the money and Valdez-Quiroga then lit his tent on fire with him inside.

Fire investigators later confirmed an accelerant was used to ignite the fire, according to a probable cause document.

According to police, Valdez-Quiroga fled the scene and the victim was able to escape the tent, but his possessions burned inside.

Officers said they located Valdez-Quiroga in a nearby building and arrested him.

Valdez-Quiroga was later booked into the King County Jail, where he remains in lieu of a $225,000 bail.

His criminal history includes 32 bookings in King County since 1998 and convictions for assault and theft, among others, court documents show.

Prosecutors noted Valdez-Scantling has multiple other felony convictions from outside Washington.

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