Good Samaritan uses martial arts to take down suspected Vallejo arsonist trying to flee

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Good Samaritan uses martial arts to take down Vallejo arson suspect
A good Samaritan used his martial arts skills to take down a suspected arsonist trying to flee after starting a 15-acre vegetation fire Vallejo.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- A suspected arsonist was arrested in Vallejo over the weekend and we've learned that the person was caught because of a concerned community member.

"Was able to stop somebody from doing worse!"

Alex Bello is describing the actions he took Saturday as he witnessed not only flames tearing through a field near the Target store in Vallejo, but the moments he saw a man set it on fire.

"I saw somebody jumping in happiness and he was kind of poking in the grass, looked weird and then all of a sudden we see flames popping out literally right in front of you," said Bello referring to when the man threw a flare.

Bello didn't wait around. He was on the phone with emergency dispatch moments later, but when he watched the person get into a Tesla after attempting to start another fire near the Mattress Firm store, he went to make a citizens arrest.

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"I pulled him out, tried to grab his hand behind his back, I tried to go for arm bar, it didn't go through well and that's when he tried to bite me."

Bello, who years ago trained in mixed martial arts, showed us how it played out.

"I literally grabbed two legs and dragged him out. He was like, 'Dude lets talk about it like men' and I was like, dude I'm not going to let you go that's not my job, my job is to hold you down until police get here," said Bello who did just that. Police arrested the man and say they found flares in his bag. Officers also confirm that the Tesla the man was was in, had been reported stolen in Fremont.

The flames did quite a bit of damage. Crews say 15 acres burned which is the equivalent of 11 football fields.

But Bello's quick actions helped save nearby homes, including his.

"It's important that especially in this community we help each other out, most importantly seeing something like this is when we have to take action," said Bello.

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Police Posted this release about the incident:

On July 8, 2023, a vigilant Vallejo citizen observed a man deliberately starting a vegetation fire with a flare near the intersection of Admiral Callaghan Lane and Turner Parkway.

The citizen followed the arsonist as he ran across the street and entered a black Tesla parked on the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane. Before the arsonist could drive away, the brave citizen contacted the arsonist and removed him from the vehicle. The arsonist knew he was in trouble and quickly learned he was being detained by a trained mixed martial artist who introduced him to a double armbar.

The arsonist stayed submitted with the double armbar until our officers arrived and arrested him.

Vallejo Fire Department arrived and extinguished the vegetation fire, which destroyed an estimated 15 acres (approximately 11 football fields) of land.

Our officers investigated the scene and confirmed that the arsonist started the fire based on witnesses' statements and video footage. Our officers also discovered that the arsonist's Tesla was stolen from Fremont and he had a few extra flares inside the Tesla.

The arsonist admitted to igniting the vegetation fire and stealing the Tesla after being advised of his Miranda Rights.

Thank you to the vigilant community member that stepped into action and helped prevent an arsonist from destroying our community! Thank you, Vallejo Fire Department, for risking your lives and defeating a vegetation fire that easily could have destroyed businesses and residences!

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