Person of interest wanted for questioning in string of Indianapolis arsons

John Derrick Amos
Search for Arson Person of Interest

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Arson investigators are trying to connect the dots in a string of fires set over the weekend. They have named a person of interest who they believe may be responsible for the fires.

In one case, the victim on the third floor of his home when the fire started had to save his life through a window upstairs.

After video surfaced of a different person of interest in the fires, other victims found good reason to believe the same person has some answers about who targeted their home.

Edward Trammell owns a near north side home on North Broadway Street that is now without a roof due to fire. He found flames and a house full of smoke around 4 a.m. Saturday.

"I was upstairs sleep," said Trammell. "That’s when someone living in my rental apartment called my cell phone to tell me the house was on fire."

Edward Trammell's home caught fire early Saturday morning. (WTHR photo)

Trammell woke up and went from the third level of his home to the second level only to be greeted by heavy smoke. He somehow made it from the third floor to a secured area on the second floor.

"I had to find that key, open the door, went out to the porch and jumped off," he said.

Now, just like arson investigators, Trammell suspects he knows who may have answers to how his home caught fire. He shared threatening text messages he received from his daughter's ex-boyfriend, who is also the father of his grandson.

Arson Investigators from the Indianapolis Fire Department want to question John Derrick Amos in at least two fires on June 22 and 23, calling him a person of interest. Amos, considered homeless, also has an outstanding warrant in Hamilton County.

Video from Dronecam 13 showed how the flames burned up part of Trammell's roof, leaving the third floor exposed to the elements. Video of the aftermath recorded by his daughter, who has a son with Derrick Amos, shows their child's burned up bedroom.

Trammell’s daughter, Ariane Castillo, explained how her son is always at the Broadway Street home where he has his own bedroom on the second floor, which is extremely scorched by fire. When the father and daughter watched video of the suspect in fires on Indy's south side the next day posted online, they called police right away.

"I just knew immediately that that was the person who set my father's house on fire. He is a person that I have known for years," Castillo said.

"I saw a post that someone said they were 98% sure. I said, 'No, 100% sure that's him'," said Trammell.

The damage seen in photos and video to Trammell’s longtime family home doesn't really show the extent of the damage here so the victims are really relying on the public's help. Investigators want people to call 911 if they come across Amos or if you know his whereabouts call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 317-262-TIPS.

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