Neighbor says vet charged with fireworks in church has troubled past

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Already accused of lighting a massive firework inside a Dearborn church, David Cerne is accused of also trying to burn down someone else's home.

Aaron Sims said Cerne lit a firecracker and tossed it on his porch on purpose.

"By the grace of God, it didn't go off," he said.

Inkster police say it is the work of Iraq war veteran, Cerne, 42, who suffers from severe mental illness and has the demeanor of a child.

"He has 100 percent disability from the military," said Det. Brian Shafer, Inkster police.

Cerne is in custody, accused of four more similar crimes in Inkster and Detroit. He is now charged in Dearborn for setting off fireworks inside a church. It was the same day Sims spotted him standing outside of his house.

"You could tell he wanted to do something and when I walked outside it threw everything he wanted to do off-track at that time," Sims said.

Sims says Cerne just stared at him.

"When I stared he dropped his arms," Sims said.

Sims says Cerne drove off but, circled back around after Sims, and his family, was in the house.

"You just heard something go boom, boom."

Running outside, Sims says he heard a door slam and saw Cerne speeding away.

"If it would have gone off, (it would have started) all this old wood and new wood (on fire)," Sims said.

Sims said that after posting his experience on Facebook another woman told him about 15 minutes later, Cerne was drinking on Williams and Chestnut and threw a firework out of his car at a group of people.

"They were sitting and talking and she said he threw it right in the middle of them," Sims said. "It didn't go off because it bounced so many times."

Meanwhile Cerne's sentencing in another case was adjourned Wednesday as a judge decides he is a candidate for Veterans Treatment Court.

And, as that judge decides on a treatment plan for Cerne, he's expected to be arraigned on charges in Dearborn on Thursday.

"People can claim insanity or claim whatever they want and get an easy break," Sims said. "What if that would've gone off? My family wouldn't have an easy break."