MERRILLVILLE, IN – The Lake County Sheriff’s Department has made significant progress in the investigation of the jail lobby fire that occurred on June 5th. Investigators have now identified the suspect as 26-year-old Ryan Andrews, a resident of Merrillville, and have obtained an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement in the incident.
According to law enforcement officials, Andrews is an African American male with distinguishing characteristics. He stands approximately 5’10” tall and weighs around 162 pounds, sporting brown hair, black eyes, and a medium athletic build. It is possible that he has a goatee beard and a short afro. Due to the nature of the offense, authorities consider him to be dangerous, advising the public against approaching him. Instead, they urge individuals to immediately contact 9-1-1 if they spot him.
The incident occurred when vigilant Lake County Jail staff noticed a visitor setting a small fire in the lobby. Based on surveillance footage, investigators allege that Ryan Andrews entered the facility carrying a plastic jug containing an unknown accelerant. After splashing the liquid in the lobby, he swiftly ignited it before making his escape in a blue SUV.