A St. Paul man is charged with lighting his own apartment on fire and shooting off guns inside because he thought people were after him.
Leon E. Mastel, 26, was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of first-degree arson and one count of dangerous discharge of a firearm in the Monday incident.
Mastel’s mother told police that he suffered from depression and anxiety, but was unaware if he had been diagnosed with any other mental health illnesses.
Mastel was treated for smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt in the incident.
According to the complaint: Police were called to assist firefighters about 2:20 p.m. in the 1100 block of Mackubin Street after firefighters heard shots being fired from inside the apartment complex.
Police made contact with Mastel, who said that “guys” were coming to his second-floor apartment to kill him, so he fired a shotgun and .22 magnum. He said he thought an ex-girlfriend had sent the men.
“He had a difficult time answering questions and was looking around and appeared very paranoid,” the charges said. “He uttered that he set his apartment on fire to prevent the guys from getting him. He said that he jumped out of his window to the parking lot to get away.”
Mastel soaked a notebook in cologne and aftershave, lit it on fire and threw boxes of facial tissue and a pillow on it, the charges said.
The apartment became fully engulfed in flames, but was quickly brought under control.