PALMDALE – A 23-year-old UC San Diego student was arrested Monday night after a bizarre sequence of events at his relative’s Palmdale home.
Edward Sommers is accused of burglarizing and setting the home on fire, as well as smashing out the windows on two pickup trucks in front of the home, authorities said.
The incident was reported around 8:30 p.m. Monday, when Palmdale Sheriff’s deputies received a “burglary just occurred” call for service in the 5000 block of Saint Lauren Place, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
“When deputies arrived at the home, a male suspect ran from the deputies. While containment was being set up to look for the suspect, it was discovered that the victim’s unoccupied house was on fire,” the press release states.
Los Angeles County Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, and deputies caught up to the suspect about an hour later.
“He was detained after he attempted to walk pass the deputies who were posted at a containment point… The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Edward Sommers, who was identified as the victim’s nephew. Motive for the incident is unknown at this time,” the press release states.
Two neighbors in the area said they saw Sommers throw a Molotov cocktail at the home.
Sommers is also suspected of smashing the windshields and windows on two pickup trucks in front of the home, sheriff’s officials said.
A shirtless, barefoot Sommers smiled broadly as he was taken into custody Monday night. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary, arson and vandalism and booked at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station on $75,000 bail.
The incident remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson / Explosives Detail.
Sommers, a nanoengineering major at the University of California, San Diego since 2012, was touted as one of the university’s “outstanding students” in a Feb. 2013 article on the school’s website.
“[Sommers] transferred to UC San Diego and received the George Parker Memorial Scholarship, which was established to support students at UC San Diego who were raised in foster care for three or more years. Today, the nanoengineering major is working to establish a Big Brother Engineering program to help guide foster youth on their educational journey,” the article reads. (View it here)