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Video: Man facing arson charges poured jug of liquid onto bus floor, ignited it

Video: Man facing arson charges poured jug of liquid onto bus floor, ignited it

LATEST on May 23, 2024: The man accused of setting an IndyGo bus on fire is now facing a federal arson charge in addition to Marion County charges. Police say Demarcus McCloud poured a liquid on the floor of the bus then lit a piece of paper and threw it on the liquid. The Indianapolis Fire Department says the fire caused $2 million in damages to the bus and the bus stop. The fire happened last month at the IndyGo stop on Meridian Street south of 38th Street. If convicted, McCloud could face up to 40 years in prison.

Story below and video was initially published April 23, 2024.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Video shows a 45-year-old homeless man dumping a brownish-colored liquor from a milk jug onto the floor of an IndyGo bus and igniting “a large ball of fire,” according to court documents charging him with arson.

Demarcus McCloud, whose listed address as a homeless shelter, was formally charged Tuesday with a felony count of arson resulting in bodily injury, and two felony counts of arson in Marion Superior Court 32. Online court documents on Wednesday showed no hearing scheduled for McCloud.

The court documents say video from the bus and a bus stop showed McCloud’s actions.

He got on the bus at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Julia Carson Transit Center, 201 E. Washington St., which south of the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis. He wore a white sheet over his head, and was carrying a plastic milk jug of a brownish-colored liquid.

The fire happened at the IndyGo stop on Meridian Street south of 38th Street. The Red Line rapid-transit bus runs through the area that has several businesses and apartment buildings, and the North United Methodist Church.

At 7:08 a.m., the bus approached the Meridian Street bus stop south of 38th.

As other riders prepared to exit, “Mr. McCloud stands up and pours the liquid out of his plastic milk jug on its side with the cap off in front of the seat he was sitting in,” the court documents say. “The liquid in the plastic milk jug continues to pour out onto the floor of the bus. Mr. McCloud then lights a piece of paper, throwing the lit piece of paper towards the liquid he poured on the floor of the bus causing the liquid to ignite into a large ball of fire. Mr. McCloud exits the bus as the fire occurs.”

Bus stop cameras showed McCloud exiting the bus and then turning back to view the fire before he ran from the scene.

Marion County’s online Inmate Lookup showed McCloud as an inmate on Wednesday afternoon. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office told News 8 on Tuesday afternoon that they’re not the investigating agency for the case and cannot therefore release McCloud’s jail booking photo. News 8 also requested the jail booking photo from the Indianapolis Fire Department. Unlike some Indiana counties, Marion County does not put its inmates’ photos in information available online.

As News 8 reported Wednesday, court records show McCloud has an extensive criminal history, including eight separate sentences in the Indiana Department of Corrections. Most recently, he had a 2023 conviction for criminal trespassing.

In an IMPD report on the incident, McCloud’s address was listed as Horizon House, a homeless shelter that helps people secure and maintain housing. Online court documents showed the same address.

The fire caused $2 million in damages to the bus and the bus stop, the Indianapolis Fire Department says. It says it turned over the investigation to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Indianapolis Fire Department noted the fire was out by 7:45 a.m.

Carrie Black, director of communications for IndyGo, last week noted the quick actions of the bus driver in evacuating four passengers.

Two passengers were taken to Eskenazi Hospital with slight injuries, Indianapolis Fire Department says. Court documents say a person directing traffic at the scene suffered smoke inhalation.

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