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Suspect in custody in firebombing near Temple University

Suspect of Temple University off-campus housing arson identified
Suspect of Temple University off-campus housing arson identified 02:49

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A man is in police custody in connection to firebombing a home near Temple University's main campus, according to multiple law enforcement sources. The suspect's mother identified him as 35-year-old Kyle Hall.

One of the students who didn't want to be on camera says he feels lucky to be alive and also somewhat at ease that an arrest was made, though he is still shaken and scared.

Temple University says in a statement that a detective from the Temple University Police Department located the suspect Thursday and, after requesting backup, arrested him.

The suspect was then turned over to the Philadelphia Police Department and investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We were comparing it to footage in and around the area to look to see if the suspect came into campus which is where we used those videos to identify a suspect," Temple's Vice President of Public Safety Jennifer Griffin said.

Sources tell CBS3 the suspect had arrest warrants connected to the vandalism of cars belonging to Temple students.

Students of the university were inside the apartment at the time of the arson.

It happened on Cleveland Street near Norris Street on Nov. 15.

Surveillance video released Wednesday shows the alleged suspect exiting a neighboring house, lighting something on fire and then throwing it into the apartment before fleeing.

Annie Elliott was asleep a few doors down at the time of the incident that police say was arson.

"We've all kind of been on edge recently," Elliot said. "So that was just another little nail in the coffin there."

Since the attack, the home has been boarded up and there's heavy smoke damage by the front door.

John Mangan is a senior finance major at Temple. He recently launched an Instagram account as a citizen journalist to report on all crime near campus that affects students.

"I was never somebody who was an activist or someone who was vocal or very involved but there hasn't been a lot of transparency on everything," Mangan said.

The firebomb incident happened just outside of the Temple University Police Department's patrol zone. Therefore, no alert was sent to students.

"To expand (the patrol zone) would be better," Elliott said.

CBS3 spoke to Griffin about expanding the patrol zone.

"We can't and we won't," she said. "The patrol zone is already extended outside where we have facilities and buildings."

It's the latest in a series of violent crimes that happened to Temple students in November

Police also say three home invasions happened near campus that appeared to target Temple students. One arrest has been made in that case.

"I don't know what's going on right now, it's just crazy," Deb McKahann, of North Philadelphia, said.

Halls's mother tells Eyewitness News she is "sorry" and says her "son suffers from mental illness."

Halls is expected to appear in front of a federal judge Friday.

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