LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. – A chaotic and potentially harmful situation ended with a man tased in his own front yard, while firefighters worked to extinguish a growing fire in the backyard.
Matthew Pavlich was charged with third-degree arson Tuesday for his actions last week. Judge Susan Worthington set his bond at $25,000.
It all started a little after midnight, when neighbors were awoken and alerted that something was wrong.
“This guy was running around the house, and in the back yard. He had a big fire going, and every so often there was a big explosion,” said neighbor Ron Epperson. “He was really yelling and cussing, a lot of profanity.”
Several people called 911, some saying they could hear “gas,” or that it sounded like he had “something that sounds like a blow torch” that was making the fire grow bigger.
Deputies identified that man as Pavlich. When the first deputy arrived on scene, body camera footage shows him with an assault rifle drawn. He said he was yelling orders at Pavlich, orders Pavlich ignored, charging him instead. That’s when the deputy is seen drawing his taser and shooting Pavlich with it in the chest. Pavlich was arrested. Meanwhile, firefighters were behind the house extinguishing the fire.
According to court documents, inside his home, deputies found “the kitchen stove was on and open, there were multiple space heaters on in the home, the thermostat was set on 90 degrees, there was personal property thrown about the house in every room in the home, the stereo in the living room was blaring heavy metal music.”
Documents state that outside the home in the backyard was “a large pile of property including wood furniture, paper, and home decor that had been incinerated. In the middle of the burnt pile was a 5 gallon propane tank” that “appeared to be full.” Investigators stated that “the tank had scorch marks on it and steam was coming off the sides of the metal container.”
The affidavit states Pavlich told deputies he doesn’t have a mental illness and doesn’t take prescription or illegal drugs. He said “his girlfriend had broke up with him and left so he was upset,” and that “he did not intend to hurt himself or anybody else.”
“Mental health is a concern,” said Logan County Undersheriff Troy Dykes, “however, due to the nature of this incident, the public safety concern, and the crimes that were committed, we did criminally charge this individual.”
Neighbors said they don’t typically have issues with Pavlich, but over the month of January allegedly fled from Oklahoma Highway Patrol and was arrested for traffic offenses, and in another incident had allegedly set fire to another portion of his property.