Whitmore

Woodbridge, Va. – One man faces charges after police said he used Molotov cocktails to start a fire outside a middle school.

A police officer on routine patrol about 1 a.m. Saturday noticed a large fire and several people outside Rippon Middle School in Woodbridge on Blackburn Road.

The officer pulled up and the those near the fire scattered, said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Joseph Robertson.

The officer chased the fleeing suspects and was able to apprehend one of them, and then questioned him.

Other officers, as well as K9s, were called to search the school grounds but were not able to find anyone else who fled.

While the school was not damaged, police said two Molotov cocktails had been ignited that night, and that three other unused cocktails were found on school grounds. The additional cocktails were thrown away while people fled the scene of the fire as police showed up, added Robertson.

Police searched a nearby apartment home in the 1500 block of Sunny Ridge Court where they found additional pieces of evidence, police said.

Douglas Shea Whitmore, 19, of Sunny Ridge Drive, is charged with manufacture, possession, and use of a fire bomb, conspiracy to commit a felony, and with underage possession of alcohol, said Robertson. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 29.

Investigators are still seeking to apprehend those who fled the scene of the fire as police arrived.