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News / Clark County News

Police arrest man in connection with arson at Vancouver mayor’s home

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: September 14, 2022, 10:13am

Vancouver police arrested a man early Wednesday morning they believe was responsible for starting a fire at the home of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and her husband, Terry Ogle, on Monday night.

Officers responded at 12:03 a.m. to El Burrito Mojado, 808 Harney St., for a report that a man was seen on surveillance video attempting to burglarize the restaurant, according to a police news release.

Police found the man inside and arrested him without incident, the news release said.

Investigators said they also determined he is the suspect in the arson at the mayor’s house in the Shumway neighborhood, north of downtown Vancouver.

Aidan Michael Murray, no age or city of residence provided, was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of first-degree arson, second-degree malicious mischief, second-degree burglary and third-degree theft, the news release states. He is scheduled to make a first appearance on the allegations Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.

The news release did not say how police connected him to the arson. However, McEnerny-Ogle told The Columbian on Wednesday that investigators connected Murray to the arson using multiple surveillance videos.

McEnerny-Ogle said she is “cautiously optimistic” that the man responsible for the arson will be held accountable. But she’s remaining vigilant for anyone who might wish her or any city official harm.

“We need to be cautious and can’t assume it’s a one-off,” she said. “I’m still concerned there are individuals in the city, whether it’s city council or school board or public works, who continue to be threatened.”

Detectives are continuing to investigate the arson. Police department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said Tuesday that investigators had not identified a motive. However, the mayor previously said she believes the arson and an earlier burglary at her home were politically motivated.

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McEnerny-Ogle said she didn’t recognize Murray when she saw surveillance photos, and she didn’t know enough about him yet to say what the accused’s motive might have been.

Police and the Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the mayor’s home for an arson investigation at 9:37 p.m. Monday.

McEnerny-Ogle said her husband was on the phone with their son when their Wi-Fi and landline phone stopped working. Their son suggested Terry Ogle check outside for a line that may have been cut. That’s when he saw a man setting a fire near the garage, the mayor said. Terry Ogle confronted the man and was able to extinguish the blaze; he was not injured.

“He’s not usually in the backyard at that late hour,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “Thank goodness he took John’s suggestion.”

Police said the suspect ran away. Officers set up containment and conducted a K-9 track, but the suspect was not immediately located.

Kapp said there was minor fire damage to the two-story garage, which contains an apartment.

The mayor was at the Vancouver City Council meeting as the events unfolded.

McEnerny-Ogle rejected public comments that her arson case prompted an unusually large response from police and fire officials. She said she knows investigators take every incident of arson seriously, regardless of the victim.

She appreciates the hard work of Vancouver police investigators, she said, and encouraged people to watch out for their neighbors and report anything suspicious.

Her next priority is to clean up the mess from the fire extinguisher and replace her security system, which she said was stolen in the weekend burglary.

“We’ll sleep better, but it’s not my first time being a victim of a crime, and, as anyone will tell you, it takes a while to get over that,” she said. “We’ll spend time cleaning off the fingerprints from the burglary, washing the house and taking back our house.”