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Helendale Man Attempts to Blow Himself Up to Avoid Arrest

HELENDALE:( 38-year-old Gary Butcher, a resident of Helendale has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, criminal threats and arson.

According to a press release, on February 17th, 2015, at about 3:38 p.m., deputies from the Barstow Station responded to a report of an assault in progress in the 29000 block of Frontier Street, Helendale.

The victim reported she had been hit with a baseball bat by Gary Butcher during an argument over drug use. The victim was able to flee to another part of the property and call the sheriff’s department.

As deputies were still responding to the scene, dispatch received information this was going to be Butcher’s third strike and he wasn’t going back to jail. Additional units from the Sheriff’s Department Victor Valley Station responded to assist Barstow Station, as well as a helicopter from the Aviation Division. Deputy Chris Hancock and Detective Holly Howell were the first units to arrive on scene and saw Butcher on the back part of the property near a pump house. The helicopter arrived and reported Butcher entered the pump house.

As Deputy Hancock sought cover, he could see inside the pump house and saw Butcher place items against the door in an attempt to barricade himself; however, Butcher also broke out a window.

The victim stated Butcher might try to blow himself up and reported there was gasoline in the pump house.

Deputy Hancock saw Butcher pour gasoline on the floor of the pump house, then light a cigarette. The lighter sparked the gasoline fumes in the pump house and caused a small explosion. The explosion did not cause serious injury to Butcher, but did start a fire in the pump house. Butcher became concerned over the heat from the fire and jumped through a closed window, which did cause him injury.

Deputies on scene were able to take Butcher into custody without further incident and San Bernardino County Fire Department responded. The fire was extinguished and only cause moderate damage to the inside of the pump house. The Sheriff’s Department Bombs and Arson Division also responded and assisted with the investigation. Butcher was transported by ambulance to a local trauma center and treated for his injuries. He was later booked into West Valley Detention Center for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Domestic Violence, Criminal Threats and Arson in lieu of $250,000.00 bail.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Deputy Christopher Hancock or Detective Holly Howell of the Barstow Sheriff’s Station at (760) 256-4838. Callers who wish to remain anonymous are urged to call We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at

(source: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Press Release)

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