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Knife-Wielding Man Allegedly Commits St. Paul Apartment Arson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -  St. Paul police officers responded to reports of a possible assault Tuesday ending in an alleged arson.

Authorities say they responded to a call reporting a man wielding a knife outside an apartment building on the 1600 block of Marion Street around 6:15 p.m.

The caller said they witnessed the suspect pour a substance on their door and shortly after it was on fire. The suspect then reportedly fled the scene. The resident was able to escape the building via the balcony.

Officers said once they arrived, they saw smoke and flames coming from the second-floor of the building. St. Paul Fire Department then took control of the scene.

Officers located 38-year-old Matthew Ryan Gieske nearby the crime scene. Police say he was taken into custody and booked at the Ramsey County jail for first-degree arson. He declined a custodial interview, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint says that the man earlier pointed the knife at the resident and his sister, and called himself Satan.

Police say he has a prior history of making terroristic threats and being in possession of a firearm.

(Photo Credit: St. Paul Police Department)

No one was injured in the fire but the building was condemned and nearly 20 residents have been displaced, according to SPFD.

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