Justin Bresaw, wanted in Quebec after allegedly burning a house down and killing three people, has been arrested in Tallahassee after fighting a police officer and fleeing into the woods.
Around 1:30 Sunday morning, Bresaw, 35, was observed by Sgt. Samuel Gehrig of the Tallahassee Police Department to be acting in a suspicious manner. The man was behind a small church, stealing electricity from a utility box. He was using the electricity to power his laptop. Bresaw identified himself to the police officer as "John Colman."
The officer was suspicious of the spelling of his name and while he was checking the man's identification, Bresaw engaged the officer in a physical altercation. CBC reports Officer Dave Northway as saying what happened was "a very good, hard, long fight." Northway also said during the course of the fight, Bresaw said "You'll have to kill me." The man also attempted to grab Gehrig's belt that held his gun and other weapons.
During the fight, Gehrig fell and hit his head on a metal post, breaking his nose. Bresaw then made good his escape and ran into the woods.
A manhunt began with the use of a helicopter and canine units. About three hours after his fight with Gehrig, Bresaw was found by a dog, hiding under a house.
WCTV reports Bresaw is facing charges in Tallahassee of resisting arrest, battery, and being a fugitive from justice. He is being held in the Leon County Jail.
Bresaw had been living in Amos, Quebec, about 600 kilometres north of Montreal. He rented a room in the home of Rene Deschatelets and his wife, Diane Duhaime. A few days before the fire, Deschatelets threw him out of the house.
It is alleged that on Sept. 17, Bresaw set fire to the house, killing the couple. Jean-Guy Labelle, who was in the home at the time, also died. Bresaw was seen in the area of the house when the fire began.
Bresaw was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. Interpol was also advised of the fugitive.
It is not known how or why Bresaw ended up in Tallahassee. The Montreal Gazette reports a stolen car, believed to be driven by Bresaw, was found abandoned near Peterborough, Ontario three days after the fatal fire.
The Toronto Sun quotes Catherine Coulombe, a spokeswoman for the Sûreté du Québec, as saying, "Extradition measures are underway. [Bresaw] should eventually return to [Canada] to face justice."
But Bresaw's extradition may have to wait until his Florida charges are disposed of. If convicted of those crimes, he faces a maximum of 11 years in prison.
Bresaw is due to appear in a Tallahassee courtroom today.