Seven Juveniles Charged in a String of Fires in Selma

From the West Alabama Newsroom–

Several juveniles in Selma find themselves facing felony charges. They’re suspects in a recent rash of fires in the city.

District Attorney Michael Jackson says a total of seven juveniles are accused of setting three separate fires.

Wal Selmafires1118 Fox PkgThe first fire happened at the Selma Wal-Mart. Authorities say four juveniles are charged with setting a fire inside the store.

“Right now we know we have a Class-A misdemeanor. Which means that it’s a class, that it’s a felony. So, that’s how we’re pursuing this,” said Interim Selma Fire Chief Franklin Edwards.

Selma resident Jaquelyn Baker says whoever is responsible for setting the fire — should be held accountable for their actions. No matter their race or age.

“They should be held accountable. If they’re underaged their parents should be held accountable,” she said.

“A lot of things could have gone wrong. The whole situation could have went left. The people could have gotten burned, hurt, the store could have blown up. Innocent people could have gotten killed.”

The second fire happened at RB Hudson Middle School. Three juveniles are facing charges in that case for allegedly setting a bathroom on fire.

The third fire is the second fire set at Wal-Mart. It remains under investigation.

“We’re actually looking at a person of interest in that case,” said Edwards.

Authorities says juvenile delinquency appears to be on the rise. They say a slap on the wrist for offenders sends the wrong message.

“It’s letting juveniles or anybody else know or think, you can do it, it’s okay. Get away with it,” said Baker.

“It’s a lot of activity with juveniles and minors now. And we’re going to have to take a serious approach to this,” said Jackson.

“As Barney Fife would say, “We gotta nip this in the bud,” before it gets out of hand.”

All three fires happened within a month of each other.

Some reasons for juvenile delinquency include — poor parenting skills — physical abuse and neglect — parental substance abuse — and poverty.

Categories: Crime, News, West Alabama