A former Seahawk and current Arena Football League player who leapt from his burning third-floor apartment in Liberty Lake, Wash., on Thursday said he started the blaze with a marijuana blunt because God told him to, authorities told The Spokesman-Review.
Kevin Ellison, 25, has been arrested and now faces federal arson charges.
Ellison, a starting linebacker/defensive back for the Spokane Shock arena football team, initially told firefighters that he’d been smoking in bed, but evidence collected at the scene didn’t match that explanation, Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Kevin Miller told the newspaper.
Ellison was arrested during a follow-up interview at Deaconess Medical Center where he was being treated for smoke inhalation.
Ellison was at the hospital when he told Spokane Valley Deputy Fire Marshal Clifton Mehaffey that he’d set the fire “because ‘God’ had told him to set the bed on fire,” The Spokesman-Review said.
The fire was confined to the apartment of origin and was heavily damaged. Two other units incurred smoke damage. Damage is estimated at $50,000.
Ellison, who played at USC, was drafted in the sixth round by the San Diego Chargers in 2009 and started nine games at safety that season. He was released by the team following a May 2010 arrest in San Diego on a controlled-substance charge. The charges were later dropped. Ellison joined the Seattle Seahawks but was released shortly before the 2010 season opener.