Note: This story was updated at 7:35 p.m.
An Oak Ridge teenager has confessed to starting a car fire at Linden Elementary School on March 8, and police are investigating other fires near the school that could be linked to the vehicle arson, authorities said Monday.
Jovon Brooks, 18, was identified through a combination of video surveillance tapes from Linden, independent information that the suspect could be an Oak Ridge High School student, and the work of Oak Ridge Police Department school resource officers and the Criminal Investigations Division, a press release said.
ORPD school resource officers reviewed video surveillance tapes from Linden Elementary School, and they showed a young man walking toward the car with a brick in his hand, the press release said.
“The Criminal Investigations Division then developed independent information the suspect was possibly an Oak Ridge High School student, which allowed school resource officers to positively identify the suspect as Jovon Brooks, 18 years of age,” the release said. “(He) resides in the neighborhood surrounding Linden school. Detectives interviewed Mr. Brooks, who confessed to starting the fire.”
The car arson at Linden was reported at about 6:20 p.m. Saturday, March 8. The Oak Ridge police and fire departments both responded to it.
“Other intentionally set fires in the area of Linden Elementary are also under investigation and may possibly be linked to the vehicle arson,” the press release said. “Charges are pending for Mr. Brooks upon presentation of the case to the grand jury. The investigation remains ongoing, and no further details will be released at this time.”
Authorities had recently announced that they were offering a reward to anyone who had information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who started the car and brush fires at or near Linden Elementary School during the past month or so.
Besides the car fire, two other fires included a Feb. 27 woods fire on Montclair Road near Linden Elementary School and a March 22 woods fire behind Linden Elementary School. But it wasn’t immediately clear if those fires are the other fires referred to in the Monday afternoon ORPD press release.
More information will be added as it becomes available.