January 22, 2003

Okay, this story is almost a week old, but it's worth reading nonetheless.

Some excerpts:

"Police Capt. Thomas J. Quinn . . . said the dispute between Louis Rogers and his girlfriend, Vanessa Bellino . . . began Tuesday night and resumed yesterday morning.

"The fight was apparently over an empty gas tank, Quinn said. About 9:25 a.m., a furious Rogers started throwing household possessions from the window. He brandished a samurai sword from the balcony.

"Rogers tossed the couch, a birdcage with birds in it, and a television that crushed the back window of a parked car.

"'The next thing you know, the place was on fire,' Quinn said. Investigators said the fire appeared to have been set in some bedding in a closet.

"Next, Rogers dropped from the 25th-floor balcony to the one below, breaking into that apartment through the sliding glass porch doors.

"'The next thing you know, that place is on fire,' Quinn said.

"Rogers then lowered himself to the 23d-floor balcony to break into that apartment. A SWAT team officer arrived; Rogers hurled his cell phone at him. Rogers then started to go over the side of the balcony. A SWAT officer, Nicholas Campolongo, grabbed him around the wrist but was unable to hold on because he appeared to have a grip only on Rogers' sleeve.

"Police said it was unclear whether Rogers slipped or jumped. . . .

"Residents reported that Rogers and Bellino had a troubled history and that police often were summoned to the apartment. Quinn labeled their relationship 'volatile.' . . .

"Neighbors said Rogers exhibited erratic and dangerous behavior. Resident Mike Gallucci said he saw Rogers pointing a crossbow this summer from the balcony into the park. He fired the weapon, but the bolt was errant. . . .

"Resident Barbara Nocon was in the couple's apartment Tuesday night with an eye toward renting it for a relative; Bellino's lease expires next month. All of the closet doors were off their hinges and holes had been punched in them, she said."

With locals like this around, I guess I shouldn't be needling TBogg about San Diego.


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