Convicted felon suspected of arson at police department

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Poplarville police department was the victim of an arson attack after a convicted felon was declined approval to purchase a suppresser for his weapon.

Friday an individual by the name of Xiao Chen Lin, 21, of 1203 South McGehee Lot 14, Poplarville, came to the Police Department to ask for a signature from the police chief to purchase an AR 15 suppresser, or silencer, said Capt. Rossie Creel.

The chief ran Lin’s record to ensure he was not convicted of any crimes but found he is a convicted felon in the state of New York, Creel said. When the chief informed Lin that he wasn’t going to sign the paper work for Lin to get the suppresser and kept the paper work, Lin left the department upset, Creel said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The next night at about 2:30 a.m. the two officers in the building heard an explosion which shook the building, Creel said. They investigated the situation and discovered the rear of the now city-owned Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer the department is using as an office was on fire, Creel said. The officers fought the fire with water until the local fire department arrived, he said. Only minor damage was done to the rear of the trailer, he said.

Creel said that Lin is their number one suspect at that time and they suspect that Lin was in possession of a firearm since he was applying for permission to purchase a part for one.

The Poplarville Police contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the New York State Fire Marshal’s and Lin’s parole officer with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The Poplarville Police Department served a search warrant for Lin’s residence and seized a cache of nine weapons and body armor, Creel said.

Also in the residence was evidence supporting the department’s belief that Lin was involved in the arson attempt, Creel said. He said that Lin was arrested and charged with probable cause for arson by the Poplarville Police Department. ATF will file federal charges for the possession of the three high powered rifles, a shotgun and five hand guns, Creel said.