Deputies: Man ends hours-long standoff by setting fire to home

67-year-old charged with aggravated assault, Camden County deputies say

Booking photo of John Samuel Rowland
Booking photo of John Samuel Rowland

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – A Camden County man is facing an aggravated assault charge after deputies said he ended an hours-long standoff Tuesday by setting fire to a house.

Deputies said the Camden County 911 call center got word at 3:21 p.m. that a man was shooting at people near Old Burnt Fort Road along the Satilla River near the Charlton County line.

Deputies said they found John Samuel Rowland, 67, barricaded in a home and that he had broken all the windows and destroyed the interior of the house. Family members said Rowland was angry because of a recent family breakup and had been asked to vacate the house, according to deputies.

Rowland refused to speak with deputies and cut off all means of communication with family members during the standoff, which lasted into the evening, according to the Camden County Sheriff's Office.

Neighborhood residents said Rowland had been firing his weapons at people outside of the home and along the roadway in front of the home, breaking out windows and destroying furnishing within the house.

After not being able to establish communication with Rowland, a robotic camera was dropped into the home through a broken window, deputies said. They could see through the monitor that Rowland was in the home and several weapons had been placed in various areas of the house, with one handgun loaded and cocked, deputies said.

The fire department was placed on standby, and when firefighters and paramedics arrived, deputies introduced CS gas into the home, but Rowland refused to come out, deputies said.

Instead, he set the house on fire and then shouted he was coming out, deputies said. When he left through the front door, he was wearing a hockey mask and had a lighter in his hand, deputies said.

Investigators said Rowland admitted to setting the house on fire in an attempt to destroy the property. He had placed gas cans throughout the inside of the house in hopes the fire would quickly spread and engulf the entire structure, deputies said.

Deputies said the case is still under investigation and additional charges could be coming.

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