Murder, arson charges filed against man in Seattle fire

Anchorage man was charged Friday with two counts of murder, arson and three counts of assault.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A deadly fire that sent people jumping from a fourth-floor window at an apartment building-turned motel in Seattle in July was apparently set in retribution over a stolen laptop, King County prosecutors said.

Jesse Puff, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, was charged Friday with two counts of murder, arson and three counts of assault in connection with the July 13 early-morning blaze prosecutors say was started in the building’s rear stairwell with jugs of gasoline.

After two people died from their injuries at Harborview Medical Center, Puff was arrested Tuesday in Seattle, The Seattle Times reported.

He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. It wasn’t known if he has a lawyer.

Rosanna McCurry, 32, died July 17, likely from inhalation of carbon monoxide, with burns to her body contributing to her death, the charges say. Shadrack Baird, 24, died July 22 from a combination of inhalation injuries that burned his airway and sepsis from an infection to burns on his body.

One woman is “battling for her life,” and has yet to regain consciousness, and two men are still being treated for serious injuries, the charges say.

Puff has been in Washington for the past two months, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Terence Carlstrom wrote in the charges.

Seattle police determined Puff called 911 on July 11 and reported that his van had been broken into and he’d tracked his stolen laptop to the motel on Aurora Avenue North, where he said he looked through windows and saw drugs inside, charges said.

Puff “clearly planned the attack and targeted the unit on the upper floor where the victims were, charges said. By his admission he estimated there were 10 to 12 people inside,” Carlstrom wrote. Puff brought containers of gasoline with him and hung around the motel until he was able to gain access to the rear stairwell, charging documents said.

The fire, which started 30 seconds later, is still being investigated.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

The Seattle Fishermen's Memorial is shown Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 in Seattle. Items left at the memorial Thursday included a ball cap with the name of the crab fishing boat Scandies Rose. The search for five crew members of the Scandies Rose in Alaska has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard said after two other crew members of the vessel were rescued after the 130-foot crab fishing boat from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, sank on New Year's Eve. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Experts point to ice in testimony on Scandies Rose sinking

Naval architects said regulations fail to account for the effects of ice buildup on boats and crab pots.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., two men stand armed with guns in front of the Governor's Mansion during a protest supporting President Donald Trump and against the counting of electoral votes in Washington, DC, affirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The open carry of guns and other weapons would be banned on the Capitol campus and at or near any permitted public demonstration across Washington under a measure being considered by Washington lawmakers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
State Senate approves open carry ban at Capitol in Olympia

The measure passed on a 28-20 vote and now heads to the House.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., speaks during a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing about the COVID-19 response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Al Drago/Pool via AP)
Rep. Herrera Beutler censured over Trump impeachment vote

The Clark County Republicans pledged to vet and select a different candidate to champion in 2022.

Gov. Inslee signs relief bill waiving liquor license fees

Says one-time waivers “will provide some financial relief while we work to get them back to capacity.”

State Senate approves police accountability bill

A state agency’s ability to decertify has been hamstrung for years.

Oregon plans to open vaccines for all by July

Gov. Kate Brown announced Oregonians who are 16 and older will be eligble no later than July 1.

FILE - In this June 30, 2020, file photo, a sign on the street reads "Welcome to CHOP" as protesters stand near barricades, at the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone in Seattle. The area, which was also known as CHAZ, was occupied for several weeks during the summer by protesters after Seattle Police pulled back from their East Precinct building following violent clashes with demonstrators. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Biden ends Trump’s order that named Seattle an ‘anarchist city’

The designation, had it stuck, would have led to a cut federal funding.

Police recommend charges in WSU frat alcohol poisoning death

The 19-year-old became unconscious and died about four hours before fraternity members called 911.

State Patrol worker arrested in child sex sting operation

He worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned to the school bus inspection program.

Tacoma Police and other law enforcement officials stand in a line as protesters approach in the street in front of the City-County Building during a protest against police brutality, late Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in downtown Tacoma, Wash., south of Seattle. The protest came a day after at least two people were injured when a Tacoma Police officer responding to a report of a street race drove his car through a crowd of pedestrians that had gathered around him. Several people were knocked to the ground and at least one person was run over. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Senate OKs bill making police intervene to stop undue force

The bill passed 28-21 Tuesday over opposition from state Republicans.

A sign opposing the Geo Group, the private contractor that operates the Northwest Detention Center, hangs on a fence outside the facility in Tacoma, Wash., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The Trump administration rushed to meet a deadline Tuesday for reuniting dozens of youngsters forcibly separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington House aims to close Northwest immigration jail

“It is a moral injustice to profit off of those who are incarcerated,” said Mukilteo’s Rep. Ortiz-Self.