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Howard County police charge Elkridge man with attempted murder, arson

Howard County police have charged an Elkridge man with attempted murder and arson after they said he set his residence on fire with people inside, the department announced Thursday.

Police said Brener Alfredo Mendoza-Mendez, 31, set his own home on fire with two people inside on St. Patrick’s Day. No one was injured in the blaze.

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County firefighters and police were called to a trailer fire in the 8000 block of Joetta Drive in Elkridge on March 17. By the time they arrived, the trailer was engulfed in flames, and it took firefighters an hour to put it out.

A woman told police that she and a 5-year-old were inside and had evacuated the home, which is now uninhabitable. Neither was injured, but a dog died in the fire.

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Mendoza-Mendez has been charged with nine felony counts, including two counts of both attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree arson, two counts of first-degree assault and aggravated animal cruelty. He’s also charged with eight misdemeanor counts, including reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and animal cruelty.

Police said they are still investigating his motive.

Four adults and two children were displaced by the fire and are being assisted by the American Red Cross, police said.

Through investigation, police said they discovered Mendoza-Mendez, who was renting a room in the trailer, was seen pouring gasoline inside the home and setting it on fire.

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Mendoza-Mendez was outside the trailer when police arrived, and he was taken to a hospital for “health issues unrelated to the fire,” according to a police news release.

When he was cleared from the hospital on Monday, police charged and arrested him. He is being held without bond at the Howard County Detention Center. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 13 in Howard County District Court. No attorney is listed for Mendoza-Mendez in charging documents.

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