Man attacks host; then barricades the home, starts a fire and breaks a window trying to escape

Botetourt-CountyThe Botetourt County Sheriff’s office says a man just released from mental health care created big problems yesterday for the person who agreed to take him in for the night. Officials say 25-year-old Benjamin Sparks of Christiansburg attacked his host, who then ran out of his Cloverdale home. Sparks then allegedly barricaded himself in the home, started a fire and  broke a window in efforts to escape. He’s under treatment once again.

(Continue reading for the full Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office news release.)

Suspect’s Leap from Window Caps Botetourt Officers’ Wild Night
Involving Barricade, Assault, Arson, and Firearms Concerns

Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle has reported that four of his deputies, two fire companies and three emergency medical units were involved early Tuesday before a complaint of assault in a Cloverdale residence evolved into a wild combination of barricade, arson, and firearms concerns that culminated in a plunge from a second-story window by a Christiansburg man who had been released earlier Monday from mental health care at Lewis-Gale Pavilion in Salem.

Benjamin Reece Sparks, 25, of 1600 Peppers Ferry Road, N.W., Christiansburg, who now is a patient at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, has been charged with assault, arson, property damage, and obstruction of justice, Sheriff Sprinkle said.

The original assault complaint was received shortly after midnight from a resident in the 400-block of Highland Manor. Officers who found the complainant outside his house were told that he had fled from his house and was locked out after being attacked by Sparks. Sparks was present there because he had been offered shelter for the night after contacting the complainant about not having a place to stay, officers were told.

Sparks obstructed entry by officers and the complainant, and, after they had forced entry, barricaded himself in an upstairs room where he subsequently started a fire, the sheriff said. When officers forced their way into the room, Sparks had broken a window, was forcing his way through the window opening, and fell to the ground despite the use of a taser in an effort to stop him, Sprinkle said.

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