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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : news : law enforcement June 25, 2022

4/19/2022 4:39:00 PM
Statesville Man Accused of Setting Four Highway Patrol Cars on Fire

NC Highway Patrol

A Statesville man was arrested Monday night after several NC State Highway Patrol vehicles were set on fire outside the 7-Eleven convenience store at 234 Turnersburg Highway in Statesville..

The incident happened around shortly after 9:30 PM Monday (April 18th). Several Highway Patrol troopers were on break inside the store, when a passerby alerted them that their patrol cars were on fire. The witness also verbally identified a suspect. The troopers immediately responded and extinguished the fires with fire extinguishers. One of the troopers recognized the suspect, who was still in the immediate area, and placed him in custody.

Iredell County EMS responded to evaluate the troopers for any smoke inhalation issues. None of them were transported to the hospital. Three of the four patrol cars were damaged badly enough they weren't drivable and were towed from the scene.

The suspect, 49-year-old Daniel Francis Zelo of Statesville was arrested by Statesville Police.

Zelo had been convicted in 2016 of child abuse and driving while his license was revoked but had no other criminal record. He told police he set the cars on fire in retaliation for law enforcement taking custody of his children. He was transported to Davis Regional Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation.

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