Andrew Eric Mongerson Accused of Trying to Torch Homeless Men at Their Tent

Andrew Eric Mongerson is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at two homeless men. Courtesy Anaheim Police Department

A 29-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to throwing a Molotov cocktail at two homeless men at their tent in Anaheim. 

Andrew Eric Mongerson of Garden Grove had been charged Tuesday with felony attempted arson, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of flammable material.

Mongerson made an incendiary device around 1:30 p.m. June 27, rode his bicycle toward two homeless men along Katella Avenue in Anaheim, lit the so-called Molotov cocktail, threw it at the pair and yelled insults as he rode away, alleges the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

The suspect did not know the victims, one of whom was inside his makeshift tent near a bus stop while the second man stood outside it, prosecutors add.

Glass shattered near the men and pieces remained on fire until the fuel ran out, states the OCDA, which credits the Anaheim Police Department with investigating the case, identifying Mongerson as the suspect and arresting him in Anaheim.

He has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 12 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, where he faces up to five years and four months in state prison if convicted.

A similar incident happened in January in Santa Ana, where a 35-year-old man allegedly set fire intentionally to a tent with a homeless man and woman inside.

That defendant, James Anthony Lawlor, was charged with felony counts of attempted murder, arson of inhabited property, possession of flammable material as well as sentencing enhancements for premeditation and arson with an accelerant.

He remains in custody in Orange County Jail, according to the sheriff’s department online database.

Lawlor reportedly did not know his victims either.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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