Firebombing victim heard ‘loud bang’ before front yard was ‘engulfed’

Nicholas Patrick Owens. (WTVR)

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR) — A woman said she believes the suspect arrested for firebombing her home  in Colonial Heights likely targeted her family by mistake.

Police said the first incident happened when a home in the 2300 block of Franklin Avenue was struck by two Molotov cocktails on Thursday, June 28 at 3:30 a.m.

The front storm door received minor damage, but the fire spread to the front yard.

Surveillance video captured a male suspect, later identified as 37-year-old Nicholas Patrick Owens of Prince George County, fleeing the scene.

Firebombing victim: ‘I heard a loud bang’

Janelle Oldmixon, who has lived on Franklin Avenue for years, she never thought her family would be a target.

“Had I not woke up, I don’t want to think what would’ve happened,” Oldmixon said. “I heard a loud bang and when I came out to look through the window the entire front yard was pretty much engulfed in flames.”

Police said that Oldmixon’s home was  struck by two Molotov cocktails.

With no leads on who was behind all of this, the family became very worried about their safety.

“We’re trying to come up with people that we may have had issues with, but we couldn’t think of anything,”  Oldmixon said.

Janelle Oldmixton. (WTVR)

Then just three days later, another home on the same street was firebombed.

Oldmixon has a theory as to why her house was targeted.

“I think he was aiming for that house initially, which is also yellow house on Franklin Avenue, and I think he hit this one by mistake,”  Oldmixon said.

However, police have yet to confirm that.

Oldmixon said she can now sleep again knowing the suspect is behind bars.

“I want all charges brought against him as much as can be done,” she said.

Oldmixon said she is using the crime as a way to teach her kids to always be prepared for the unexpected.

“ I randomly quiz them on where the fire extinguishers are in living room,”  Oldmixon explained. “And after it happened I took my son out in the backyard and had him pull a pin and show me how to use a fire extinguisher.”

The charges

Owens was charged with one count of arson to a dwelling.

Police said Owens could face additional charges in connection to the arson and fire-bombing in the 2200 Block of Franklin Avenue on Saturday, June 30.

This time the rear of the house was targeted.

The fire was quickly contained. The family was not at home at the time. The family dog was rescued and revived by firefighters on the scene.

Damage was estimated at about $5,000.

Federal investigators including the ATF were involved in the investigation.

Owens was transported to Riverside Regional Jail under a secured bond.

If anyone has any information, they are asked to call Chesterfield/Colonial Heights Crime Solvers 804-748-0660.