Police: Accused rapist released due to COVID-19 shot fireworks at officers, set home on fire
The man, who is believed to be dead after the house fire, was released from prison against advisement from county attorneys
HILLTOWN TWP, Pa. — An accused rapist who was recently released from prison is believed to be dead after a standoff with police in Bucks County on Tuesday.
Police say Curtis Fish beat and raped a woman he held captive on New Year’s Day. He had been arrested and jailed on charges stemming from the case. But Fish was recently released due to the coronavirus pandemic -- against the recommendation of Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.
Just before Tuesday’s standoff and fire, Fish reportedly tried to break into the Crossroads Tavern before fleeing into his home nearby, 6ABC reports.
It was a wild scene in Hilltown Township, Bucks County today when an alleged rape suspect was involved in an altercation in the neighborhood. Authorities say the suspect barricaded himself in a home that went up in flames. @BobBrooks6abc has more at 11.https://t.co/xMbS5OUK6a pic.twitter.com/VGkdDq9LoU— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) May 13, 2020
Crossroads Tavern owner Mike Mrozinski was inside the business at the time, and then watched most of the ensuing events unfold. Mrozinski told 6ABC that police responding to the tavern break-in attempted to Taser Fish, to no avail.
The ensuing SWAT standoff ended with a bang – literally – as video reportedly shows Fish setting off fireworks toward officers, 6ABC reports.
Moments later, his residence went up in flames. “Fireworks outside and fireworks inside. So I believe that’s what lit the house on fire,” Mrozinski told 6ABC.
Hilltown Township Police Chief Christopher Englehart told the news station he believes the man found dead inside is Fish, but official ID was pending autopsy.
It turned out Fish was recently released from prison because of COVID-19. He’d been behind bars after police say he raped and kidnapped a woman this past New Year’s Day.
Hilltown Police found the victim brutally beaten, bleeding from her mouth, with both eyes nearly swollen shut, CBSPhilly.com reports, adding: The victim told police that Fish held her captive, strangled her with an electrical wire and “busted up her face.”
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub told 6ABC he strongly advised against Fish from being released due to COVID-19, but Fish was let go anyway.
Thankfully, no officers were hurt during Tuesday’s incident, according to 6ABC