Warrant: Police were already watching arson suspect before synagogue, church fires in New Britain

·3 min read
Lori Riley/Hartford Courant/TNS

Even before the March 11 fires at a New Britain synagogue and church led to her arrest on arson charges, Kimorah Parker was on the radar of police, according to a warrant for her arrest.

Parker, 30, of New Britain, was a person of interest in vandalism at a Greek Orthodox church, a small fire at a church on Curtis Street and a fire in a Grove Hill house, the warrant says. The three incidents happened in the days before the Friday-night synagogue and church fires.

Parker, who police say also is known as Akeem McDavid, was seen walking near the Greek Orthodox Church immediately after someone threw a rock through its window, and she posted a comment on Facebook about the fire at the vacant home within hours of the blaze, the warrant says.

The warrant doesn’t say what her comment was, but on March 8 she posted: “So some [expletive] burned down my dream house” and said she was angry with New Britain. The day before, she posted a comment about how she knocked on every church door in her town but “there were no answers.”

Parker was arrested Saturday and charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree arson in connection with the fire at the vacant Congregation Tephereth Israel Synagogue, which was set in three separate places in the basement, the warrant says. She was in custody Tuesday at the Hartford Correctional Center on $260,000 bail.

She has a history of convictions for interfering with police, larceny and assault and was on special parole at the time of her arrest, court records show.

Friday-night fires

According to the affidavit, 911 dispatchers received an anonymous call about 8 p.m. Friday from someone who said the synagogue at 76 Winter St. was on fire. The fire spread behind the basement walls and put a hole in the first floor. It was under control and stopped spreading by about 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, about 8:50 p.m., a fire was reported at St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 99 Franklin Square, about 1.2 miles away. Firefighters from West Hartford, Hartford and Bristol responded to that fire since New Britain’s crews were tied up with the first one. The St. Matthew’s fire was in the kitchen and was knocked down by 9:30 p.m., the warrant says.

While the second team of firefighters was at St. Matthew’s, at 9:09 p.m., an alarm sounded at St. Joseph Church, 195 South Main St. A police officer responded and found no active fire, the warrant says, but investigators learned that someone had thrown a large, concrete container at a glass door pane, smashing it and allowing the person to use the inside door handle to let themselves in.

A police dog later tracked a black latex glove found on the ground outside the church to Parker, according to the warrant.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Friday, a sergeant noticed a person police had identified as Parker in the area of the Christian Pentecostal Church at 1190 West Main St., the warrant says. She struggled with him and other officers when they tried to take her into custody, and she was charged with interfering with an officer.

Christine Dempsey may be reached at cdempsey@courant.com.