Apartment fire victims say they spoke with suspect after escaping blaze

- New details as the man suspected in a deadly apartment fire has been formally charged in the case that took the lives of five people. Now we're learning some of the residents had a strange encounter with the suspect.

Of the four that have been released from the hospital, three have been released. One man remains in critical condition.

"He was just talking random stuff like he was one of the victims," said Tyrone Smith. “He never came across like, yeah I'm the guy who did it."

Tyrone Smith felt like he was kicked in the gut when he saw the suspect’s mug shot on TV.

"This guy was standing next to me talking to me while the victims are coming out the building," said Smith, brother of a victim. "He's the guy who did it. I'd be locked up downtown somewhere if I knew he did it."

He says it was 55-year-old Henry Keith Johnson, charged with five counts of first degree murder and arson, and was acting like one of the victims Wednesday at the scene of the deadly fire at Whittier and Beaconsfield.

Smith thought it was odd when he says the suspect refused medical care, though he was badly injured.  

"(He said) 'Oh no, I'm okay, I don't have to go to the doctor,'" Smith recalled him saying. "And he's bleeding from the arm."

Five people were killed; four others injured, including Smith's brother, Alan, a military veteran struggling with mental illness after fighting in Vietnam. By chance Smith was visiting him just as the fire started.

"(Alan) came out of the door with his skin burned off (there was) meat hanging off him," Smith said. "He was coughing and had stuff coming out his nose.  He was the hero. He saved a woman, and somebody said he went back in there and was trying to knock on doors and get people out of there."

Alan Smith, 67, is now on life support suffering severe smoke inhalation, a broken hand and third degree burns to his arms and face, miraculously he's expected to survive.

"Innocent people - you killed five people," Tyrone Smith said. "Why. That's the only question. Why."

The update on the victims who died is that all were men, but no identities have been released.

As far as a possible motive, police believe it may stem from a possible argument Johnson had the day before.
 


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