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Police investigate connection between house fire and shooting

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | 7:59 p.m. CDT; updated 8:15 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 11, 2013

COLUMBIA — Columbia Fire Department investigators think the fire that scorched a house on West Boulevard early Saturday was set intentionally.

Police are also investigating whether the fire is related to gang activity and a shooting that occurred Sunday night at Providence Road and Interstate 70, said Columbia Police Sgt. Joe Bernhard.

Because the fire appeared to lack an ignition source and had multiple starting points, it led investigators to consider the fire might have been set intentionally, fire department Battalion Chief Brad Frazier

"We know where the fire was started," he said. "There’s no ignition source there to start it, so that means that someone there would have manually started the fire."

Andrea Brookins, who lives in the house that burned, said her brother was house-sitting and in the house at the time of the fire.

Brookins is the mother of the 16-year-old arrested in relation to the Sunday shooting and said she believes the fire and shooting were gang-related incidents. Brookins said a gang has tried to attack her son multiple times.

Police arrested two people, Michael Ramey-Pennington, 23, and Brookins' son, believed to be connected with the shooting, Bernhard said. Ramey-Pennington was arrested on burglary and property damage charges after an incident unrelated to the shooting. He has not yet been charged with anything related to the shooting, Bernhard said.

"The problem with the shooting at Providence and I-70 is that the two people detained at the scene are not cooperative and not telling us what happened," Bernhard said. "The other people in the other car, we have no idea who they are, so the people who were there aren't. We don't know what happened. We're trying to piece it together after the fact."

Supervising editor is Katie Moritz.


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