Police: Man made threats to light himself on fire

PSP says Morrissey doused himself, trooper with gas

A Tyrone man faces 20 criminal charges — five of them felonies — for allegedly dousing himself and a state police trooper with gasoline and threatening to ignite a lighter.

Troopers were called about 9 p.m. Saturday to a home on the 800 block of Belmont Avenue in Tyrone, where Jason A. Morrissey, 37, was threatening to kill himself, according to a state police information release.

State police at Hollidays­burg said Morrissey had “consumed numerous alcoholic beverages” and spent the afternoon and evening arguing with his “live-in” girlfriend.

A neighbor later heard Morrissey threaten to kill himself by lighting himself on fire and called police, according to the release.

After making that threat, Morrissey went to a camper parked on his property and poured gas inside and around the structure, troopers said. Morrissey then doused himself, according to police.

“Morrissey took possession of a 5-gallon container and poured gasoline down over his head and upper torso,” troopers said in the release.

Morrissey allegedly made a number of additional suicidal threats before attempting to ignite a lighter.

When state police arrived at 9:32 p.m., troopers Kenneth Benton, Robert Harvey, Shane Kimberly and Cpl. John Brown found Morrissey sitting in the camper’s doorway, according to the release.

“Morrissey looked wet and the ground near Morrissey appeared damp,” troopers wrote in the release.

Morrissey was still in possession of the lighter and tried multiple times to ignite himself, as well as a puddle of gasoline, police said.

Morrissey refused to put the lighter down and surrender himself to police, and later, he again picked up the 5-gallon container of gas and threatened to douse the four troopers, according to the release, which says he also threatened to light them on


At that point, Harvey retrieved a state police vehicle fire extinguisher and sprayed its contents at Morrissey every time he attempted to ignite the lighter, police said.

That’s when Morrissey fled into the camper and ignited a blaze, police said, explaining a second extinguisher was used to “fog the interior of the camper to prevent Morrissey from catching himself and the camper on fire.”

Brown and Benton then entered the camper to arrest Morrissey; however, Morrissey threw gas from the 5-gallon can, dousing Brown, who sprayed pepper spray toward Morrissey, according to the release.

Brown and Benton left the camper, and Morrissey continued to defy police while standing within the camper’s doorway, but Benton was eventually able to “physically remove” Morrissey from the structure, according to the release.

Police estimated the camper sustained about $500 worth of damage.

Online court records — listed as inactive — show Morrissey faces felony charges of aggravated assault and attempted arson to cause death or bodily harm, as well as misdemeanor charges of making terroristic threats, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.