UCPD apprehends suspect in connection with two arson incidents on campus

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Daniel Kim/File

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UCPD arrested a suspect on suspicion of arson, burglary, assault and vandalism early Monday morning.

According to UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich, a witness passing by Crossroads dining hall reported seeing a suspicious person starting a fire outside the entrance of The Den about 3:45 a.m. UCPD officers arrived on the scene and found that the suspect had gained entry into The Den and was barricading himself in the restroom.

Reich said officers saw smoke and embers coming out of the restroom, so they forcibly entered the room. The smoke reportedly obscured the view inside the restroom. When the door opened, the suspect allegedly “lunged with a shard of porcelain in his hand,” causing an officer to fire one beanbag projectile at the suspect.

“Because we were able to have some standoff distance away from the door to fire the beanbag projectile that struck him, we were able to take him into custody safely, and no officers were injured,” Reich said.

UCPD later determined that the sound of breaking objects that officers heard coming from the restroom was the suspect allegedly breaking porcelain fixtures in the restroom, which was how he came to be in possession of the shard when he exited the room.

The suspect — identified as Christopher Junkin, a 37-year-old male who is not affiliated with the campus — was transported to the local hospital for medical clearance before he was booked in Santa Rita Jail, according to Reich.

Junkin is facing charges of second-degree burglary, arson of another person’s property, assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism for under $400 in damage, according to online records from the Alameda County Courthouse. He is scheduled to appear in the René C. Davidson Courthouse on April 3 for his pretrial hearing.

Reich said that while she understood that the two fires had damaged the building, she was not yet sure what the cost of damage was.

“I don’t really have details on the extent of the fire, but I gather that it was not substantial,” Reich said.

Chantelle Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.