Army vet accused of church fireworks incident faces judge

- Appearing confused, agitated and at times, even smiling, Iraqi war veteran David Cerne faced a judge in Dearborn Thursday.

Cerne, 43, is accused of arson and malicious destruction of property charges for setting off fireworks inside the Divine Child church chapel.

Cerne, who served in the Army for more than 11 years, is believed to have severe mental trauma. Another judge Wednesday deciding he is a candidate for Veterans Treatment Court.

After being asked where he resides, Cerne told the judge "I reside in the Wayne county jail."

Cerne, now has seven cases against him including Inkster, Detroit and Dearborn. He is also charged Thursday for putting fireworks in a garbage can outside a Dearborn liquor store last week.

"It was really busy that night," said Syvon Zerota, owner of House of Beverage. "He was waiting, driving around with his lights off."

Owner of House of Beverage on Cherry Hill near Telegraph, Zerota says when no customers were around, Cerne tossed the fireworks into the garbage and ran away.

"When I saw the guy I was shocked," he said. "I thought it was kids. It was loud and I thought it was a bomb."

It may not look too scary at the garbage can but employees say it happened steps away from 46 propane tanks outside.

"That could've been a really bad situation if those would've caught fire," Zerota said.

The judge said his behavior is too risky, taking Cerne back to jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

"People like that don't need to be in the public," Zerota said. "If he is willing to throw fireworks where people are praying, he's willing to do anything."
 

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