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Capitol Police Arrest One of Their Own on Arson Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A 12-year veteran of the Capitol Police was arrested Monday by the department, in connection with an alleged arson attempt on Halloween.  

Rodney Perdue, 44, was charged as a “Fugitive from Justice.” Police booked the House Division cop around 1:45 p.m., pursuant to an extraditable arrest warrant issued by the Baltimore City Police Department on charges of attempted arson, arson by threat and reckless endangerment, stemming from a housing dispute. “I’m going to burn this mother f***** down,” Perdue allegedly warned his sister, grandfather and other assembled family members on Oct. 31, before dousing the first floor of their row house with gasoline and fleeing the scene, according to a police report obtained by CQ Roll Call.  

Perdue’s sister called cops to her home in north Baltimore around 3:19 p.m. The 50-year-old woman told police that she was packing up her belongings, with help from relatives, so Perdue could move into the house. When Perdue arrived, he “became incensed” that the job wasn’t done and flew into a rage, berating his sister and “screaming that the house wasn’t empty of belongings.”  

Perdue allegedly retreated to the kitchen, where he turned on the stove’s gas burners. He then returned to the living room and ordered everyone to get out.  

Smelling gas, another occupant of the house headed into the kitchen to investigate. The police report states “flames shot skyward” when a burner was accidentally lit, during an attempt to turn off the gas.
returned to the kitchen and began rooting around in drawers and cabinets for matches. “Where’s the barbecue s***?” he allegedly asked, before walking outside and returning with a gas can. Witnesses said he sprayed the liquid contents of the can all around the room, jerking the spout toward one of the home’s occupants, as they pleaded for him to stop.  

Perdue stepped outside, and climbed into his truck in search of a lighter or matches. Unsuccessful, he asked a person standing in front of the house for a fire starter. But the answer was no.  

Perdue then got into a white truck with Virginia tags and fled eastbound, according to the report.  

Police responded to the address for report of an assault and a gas leak. A K9 unit detected gasoline in the center of the living room floor, and on a heart-shaped pillow on the living room floor. The report estimated $150 in structural damage and damage to household contents.  

During the course of the investigation, which included fire marshals and Baltimore’s arson unit, police learned Perdue was an active duty Capitol Police officer and notified his supervisors.  

Perdue, an officer since October 2003, showed up for work Monday. After the arrest, he was placed on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of the criminal portion of this investigation,” the department said in a statement to CQ Roll Call.  

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