Police: Suicidal man arrested for arson in Nogales - Tucson News Now

Police: Suicidal man arrested for arson in Nogales

James Sterling Roberts (Source: Nogales Police Department) James Sterling Roberts (Source: Nogales Police Department)
(Source: Nogales Police Department) (Source: Nogales Police Department)
(Source: Nogales Police Department) (Source: Nogales Police Department)
(Source: Nogales Police Department) (Source: Nogales Police Department)
NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Authorities said a man set several fires in Nogales and tried to get officers to shoot him Wednesday morning, Sept. 28.

The Nogales Police Department said James Sterling Roberts, 63, has been arrested on four counts of arson and one count of resisting arrest.

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The NPD said Roberts allegedly set fire to water valves, an electrical box and an electric pole outside of a McDonald's on West Crawford Street.

Once officers arrived on the scene, they put out the fires and began looking for the suspect.

"Officers searched for the suspect and saw him also set fire to a trash can," the NPD said in a news release. "When the suspect was found he was starting a fire underneath a vehicle using a gasoline canister."

The NPD said when officers tried to arrest Roberts, he "made verbal threats towards officers while reaching into a backpack."

Police fired an electric stun gun at Roberts and took him into custody, according to the NPD.

The NPD said Roberts told officers his wanted to kill himself by burning down the electric pole to electrocute or blow himself up.

"Roberts also mentioned that he thought of suicide by cop once he saw that officers approached him," the NPD said in a news release. "According to officers’ reports, Roberts said he purposefully made threats, aggressive gestures and movements, when confronted by the officer who Tased him, to provoke the officer to shoot and kill him."

Roberts, from Wilcox, told officers he had been living as a transient in Nogales since the summer of 2013.

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