Suspect in deadly Quebec house fire arrested in Florida
Extradition to Canada could take time, say police
Justin Bresaw, the man wanted in connection with a house fire and the death of three people, has been arrested in Florida.
The fire took place on Sept. 17 in the town of Amos in Quebec's Abitibi region, about 500 kilometres north of Montreal.
Officer Dave Northway of the Tallahassee Police Department said Bresaw was arrested at 4:30 a.m. after an altercation with a police officer.
Sergeant Sam Gereg found Bresaw using a laptop computer behind a small church at around 1:30 a.m.
The suspect told Sgt. Gereg he was called "John Colman," but the officer thought the spelling was off and decided to run an identity check.
Bresaw then tried to run away from the officer but was held back.
"The man started to try to get away," Northway said. "He took a step or two. Sergeant Gereg got a hold of mister – he thought was Mr. Colman at this time but turned out to be Mr. Bresaw – and they got into... a very good, hard, long fight."
According to Northway, Bresaw said "you'll have to kill me" while he was fighting with Sgt. Gereg.
"Mr. Bresaw was trying to get a hold of Sgt. Gereg belt which has all of his weapons on it," Northway said.
Three-hour police hunt
Gereg fell during the fight, struck a metal post and broke his nose during the fight, Northway said, and Bresaw ran away.
Sgt. Gereg then called for back-up and with the help of a helicopter, other agencies and search dogs, found Bresaw three hours later hiding underneath a house.
Bresaw was taken into custody after suffering a bite from a police dog, Northway said.
After his arrest, police determined that Bresaw was wanted by Quebec authorities and by Interpol.
Bresaw is being held at the Leon County Sheriff's Office, where he is facing charges of resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence and being a fugitive.
Bresaw is suspected of having killed René Deschâtelets, Diane Duhaime and Jean-Guy Labelle before setting fire to the house they were in. He may face charges of first degree murder, along with arson, once he is extradited.
Authorities say Bresaw was spotted in the west Ottawa neighbourhood of Kanata North in mid-September before issuing a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.
Sûreté du Québec spokesman Const. Pierre Tremblay said Bresaw was seen near the Amos home before the fire started. He had been renting a room in the basement of the home in Amos prior to the fire.
Christine Coulombe, a spokeswoman for Quebec provincial police, said Sunday the extradition process is underway to bring him back to Canada. That process could be held up by the charges Bresaw now faces in Florida.
"We don't how long it will take," Coulombe said.
Police had been on Bresaw's trail since last month.
On Sept. 20, three days after the fire, a stolen car allegedly driven by Bresaw was found in a wooded area near Havelock, Ont., northeast of Peterborough.
With files from the Canadian Press