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University Cop Indicted For Setting Fires On Campus While On Duty

Catonsville, MD – A University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC) police officer was indicted on arson charges Monday for setting four fires on campus while he was on duty.

Prosecutors said that 36-year-old UMBC Police Officer Walter T. Christopher has set four fires on the university’s campus since December of 2021, WCBC reported.

Court records showed that the fires were set in a trash can and a box of newspapers in the campus library, in a bathroom in the chemistry building, in a university office, and in another bathroom, the Baltimore Banner reported.

A spokesman for UMBC said no one was injured as a result of any of the fires.

“When several arson incidents were reported on campus beginning in December 2021, UMBC Police immediately worked with the State Fire Marshal to investigate,” UMBC said in a statement to WMAR.

“Today, based on the results of this joint investigation, the Office of the State Fire Marshal arrested Walter Christopher, who has been a member of the UMBC Police force for two years, on charges related to the reported arsons,” the university’s statement continued.

“Mr. Christopher has been suspended and moved to non-officer status pending an outcome in the judicial system,” the statement read.

Officer Christopher was indicted by a Baltimore County grand jury on July 18, WMAR reported.

He is facing 12 charges that included second-degree arson, second-degree malicious burning, and malicious destruction of property.

The Maryland Fire Marshall’s Office declined to reveal how Officer Christopher was linked to the fires that occurred on Dec. 16, 2021, Dec. 19, 2021, and April 17, 2022, the Baltimore Banner reported.

The university website showed the Officer Christopher is vice president of the UMBC Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

The union has not yet released a statement about his indictment.

Officer Christopher was taken into custody and held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention center, WMAR reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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