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Home invasion, then fire at SW Charlotte residence

By Steve Lyttle and Davie Hinshaw
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Local and federal law enforcement authorities spent much of Friday searching through the ruins of a southwest Charlotte house that police say was hit by a home invasion and then a fire over a four-hour period.

Police were not ready later Friday to connect the incidents at the two-story house in the 4400 block of Cades Cove Drive.

Police said late Friday afternoon that they had arrested Davion Jerome Herron, 33, and Rashawn Shamario Sanders, 25, in connection with the breaking and entering.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Chris Dozier said the fire, which appears to have destroyed the house, is considered “suspicious.” The CMPD Arson Task Force is investigating.

The fire happened while both suspects were being interviewed.

No injuries were reported in the incidents, which left some neighbors in the residential community off Steele Creek Road shaken.

Police said in a news release that Herron and Sanders admitted to planning and breaking into the residence and robbing the victims to obtain drugs and money that they believed to be in the home.

Several residents described hearing two explosion-type sounds before the fire started.

Dozier said police were called about 1 a.m. to the house in connection with a home invasion. He said the four suspects forced their way into the home.

Felder said he heard the commotion about that time.

“Police were all over the place,” he said. “They came through my yard with a police dog. Then it got quiet for a while.”

Police apparently left the neighborhood sometime around 3 a.m., but about two hours later, the fire broke out.

“Around 5 (a.m.), I heard two big explosions,” said Geoffrey Nyatuka, who lives a few doors from the house. He said he got dressed and went out to see what was happening. “I realized the whole house was on fire,” he said.

Felder, who also said he heard two “booms,” called the blaze “the biggest fire I’ve ever seen. The flames were up to the tops of the trees.”

Police said there were four residents of the house, which is owned by a company, but the American Red Cross said two adults and three children lived there.

Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said the crew of 27 firefighters needed about 50 minutes to put out the blaze.

Sanders and Herron have both been charged with three counts of attempted robbery with a firearm, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first degree burglary, and three counts of second degree kidnapping. Herron has also been charged with firearm by convicted felon.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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