Antonio Wright, Public Enemy No. 1, wanted in double fatal firebombing, turns himself in
BALTIMORE (WBFF) – The suspect Baltimore City Police named Public Enemy Number 1, who was wanted in connection to a double fatal firebombing over the weekend, turned himself into authorities Monday afternoon.
Antonio Wright, 26, surrounded by family members, turned himself in to police sometime around 1 p.m. at the corner of Biddle St. and Greenmount Ave., just half of a block from the scene of a fatal firebombing. While he was being handcuffed, Wright maintained, "They showed you my picture... but I did not do this." He said they were "bringing me in like an animal" and police didn't give any "physically proof" before distributing his picture to the public.
Wright was wanted for a firebombing at an East Baltimore home on Saturday that killed two teens and injured six others.
Officers said that Wright intentionally threw two "Moltov Cocktails" into the home on Greenmount Ave. near the intersection of E. Preston St. around 5 a.m., according to police. The Fire Dept. confirmed that the blaze was ignited by an accelerant and the eight victims in the home were targeted.
The teens who were killed have been identified as 17-year-old Tyrone James and Shi-Heem Sholto, 19.
The victims who were injured have been identified as a four-year-old boy, 11-year-old boy, 16-year-old girl, 17-year-old girl, and a 38-year-old woman. Police were investigating to see if there was a connection between the firebombing and a Thursday night shooting during which time detectives say a victim ran into the same row home seeking safety after being shot.
Police updated the media and public during a press conference at 1:30 p.m. TJ Smith, chief of police media relations, said that he's presumed innocent until proven guilty and acknowledged Wright's insistence on his innocence, commenting that he didn't expect him to profess his guilty on social media after a video was released. But, they're exploring his possible connection to the Greenmount Ave. shooting that happened a few nights before as well as another incident that occurred on September 5.
"He called us... and that's normal, we work with lawyers of suspects who turn themselves in," Smith said, explaining that's how they arranged to be there when Wright surrendered.
Smith said Wright "Absolutely made the right decision, deal with it, and he will have his day in court and we will move on from there."
Smith said, "I don't understand this to be a gang-related type of incident. I understand it to be a dispute-related incident....this situation escalated with the firebomb." He added that it was bad enough to subject your target to violence but to subject so many other innocent people is "outrageous."
Smith explained, "we had witnesses assists us in identify" who Wright was, but he didn't want to jeopardize the safety of any other potential witnesses by elaborating.
'We have some information that there was some information of an ongoing feud between him and someone in the house, and I can tell you it wasn't the 4-year-old or the 11-year-old," he explained, adding that the community's help allows them to get more dots connected to the narrative.
As for the motivation for Wrights surrender?
"Oftentimes when people are affecting others, their loved ones, they need to do the right thing and turn themselves in" to keep others in their lives of our their own issues.
"Possibly it played a role," Smith said, referencing the fact that police were knocking on doors speaking with Wright's family members including his wife. Smith called it "our responsibility... it would be malpractice if we didn't" ask questions of those connected to him.
He also added that community tips were useful in getting Wright in custody, and says they're still hoping more come forward with information.
"It's heartbreaking for their families - a 17 and 19-year-old who are deceased because of this fire," Smith said.
[Video courtesy Baltimore Firefighters Local 734]