Helena man charged after police say he led them on fiery chase


A 48-year-old Helena man faces several charges after allegedly leading police on a chase in which he carried a can of gasoline and tried to start several fires and splashed gas on an officer, authorities said.

According to documents filed June 21 in Helena Justice Court, Shawn Theodore Damon faces three counts of felony arson, a felony count of assault with a weapon and misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, fleeing from a police officer, resisting arrest and theft.

Helena police said they saw Damon exceeding the speed limit on June 19 and cut off another vehicle before fleeing the area. Officers found his car near Roberts Street and Livingston Avenue. Officers saw a man walking away from the vehicle carrying a red gasoline can.

Police said they told him to stop and he began running and tried to start a fire on property that did not belong to him. The man threatened to burn police and other property, officers said.

He started three fires in three areas. Officers put out each fire. The man then put gasoline on a fire and police were able to hold him to the ground.

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