Suspect arrested for arson at home of Adams Co. deputy

Mar. 14—HETTINGER, N.D. — An Adams County man is in custody following an arrest on Monday for an alleged arson on the property of an Adams County Sheriff's deputy in Hettinger, N.D., earlier this month. The incident, which occurred on Mar. 3 at approximately 11:15 p.m., targeted the home owned by Chief Deputy Jeff Gooss who was not in the dwelling at the time as it is being remodeled.

Zachary Mayo, 22, was identified by the Adams County Sheriff's Office as the alleged perpetrator of a blaze that was quickly

put out

by Sgt. Ken Finlayson, who used a fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle. Damage to the home was minimal, and purportedly isolated to the living room.

"At the time of the fire, three individuals were inside working on the house. These three individuals had been hired by a contractor that Chief Deputy Gooss contracted to work on the home," Fisher stated. "After conducting interviews of all individuals, as well as reviewing security camera footage from a home in the immediate area and local grocery store, it was determined that one of the workers inside the home, 22 year old Zachary Mayo intentionally set fire to the home."

The probe found that the two other construction workers were unaware of Mayo's intentions, according to law enforcement. Court documents obtained by The Dickinson Press state that when he allegedly started the fire, a child was on the second floor of the home and would have been trapped upstairs had it gotten out of control.

On Facebook, Fisher expressed his belief that Mayo's alleged fiery outburst was an act of retaliation stemming from Gooss, who is also the county's narcotics detective, arresting several individuals close to Mayo for drug related charges.

"The Chief Deputy and all of us at ACSO want the community to know that while these may be scary times, your Sheriff's Office will not cower or back away from protecting our community. We have sworn to protect this community regardless of the consequences to us," Fisher continued. "We sincerely appreciate all the messages we have gotten from the law enforcement community across this state. Your kind words of encouragement were what our department needed. In Chief Deputy Gooss' own words, 'If a doper isn't trying to burn your house down, you're not working hard enough.'"

Mayo has been charged with a class B felony of Arson, and two counts of class C felony Endangering by Fire or Explosion. According to North Dakota Century Code

subsection 12.1-32-01,

which Adams County State's Attorney Aaron Roseland cited in his criminal complaint filing, the maximum penalty for this category of class B felony is 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. The aforementioned class C felonies carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Mayo is tentatively scheduled to make an initial appearance before Southwest District Judge Dann Greenwood in the Adams County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.