A bizarre case involving a man reportedly wielding a bat and lighting his neighbor's house on fire -- paired with a miscommunication wrongfully leading police to believe the man escaped custody -- kept the Pierce County Sheriffs Department busy this weekend.
The incident began after 5:30 p.m. Saturday when deputies were called to the 6800 block of 245th Avenue East in Buckley, where a man armed with a bat was making threats, according to Det. Lynelle Anderson.
Anderson said the man, identified as Lonnie Leroy Tate, 52, of Buckley, went to his neighbors house alleging the neighbor owed him money and used the bat to break out the windows of the house.
As the neighbor fled through the back door, Tate allegedly threw gasoline inside and lit the house on fire, Anderson said.
Deputies used a Taser twice on Tate, which took "no effect," and he was able to break free into a "very wooded, rural area."
Police formed a containment area and used a K-9 unit, but were unable to find Tate. Tate turned himself in at the Buckley Police Department at 8:15 p.m., Anderson said.
Anderson said Tate had injuries and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment.
A miscommunication with dispatch led police to believe Tate escaped in the night. It wasn't until Sunday afternoon police discovered Tate was still at the hospital where he was listed in satisfactory condition.
Tate has a history with law enforcement, including drug issues, but nothing anywhere close to this serious or any indications this was the type of person he was, Anderson said.
Police believe mental health issues and intoxication could be involved in Tates behavior.