College police in Texas discovered a car with a two-year-old girl locked inside, and as they tried to extract her, they allegedly discovered her father had locked himself in the trunk and was trying to set the vehicle on fire.
On Thursday, April 19, the McLennan Community College (MCC) Police in Waco, Texas, discovered a car parked near an unused building on campus. Finding it odd that a single car would be in the otherwise empty lot, an officer inspected it and found a child in a car seat inside, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
The officer began using a police-issued lock-out kit to retrieve the girl, but as he did, a stream of smoke began curling out of the trunk. When the officer opened the trunk, he discovered Jacob Laskowski, 24, whom the officer allegedly found attempting to set the car on fire using lighter fluid and charcoal.
“[T]he officer found, in the trunk, a man who had set a fire in the trunk of the car. He was inside the trunk when the officer found him,” MCC spokeswoman Lisa Elliott said.
The campus police called the Waco Sheriff’s Office for assistance, and a helicopter with heat-seeking devices was sent to scan the area in case another suspect had trapped the man in the trunk.
Police eventually determined the suspect had reportedly locked himself in the trunk and had started the fire on his own. The flames died out quickly and did not harm either the girl or her father.
The suspect had been a student at the college working toward an associate degree in science. But his last enrollment date appears to have been 2012.
Laskowski was hit with three felony charges, including injury to a child by smoke inhalation, abandoning/endangering a child, and aggravated assault with intent to cause death, KWTX reported. His bond was set at $80,000.
College officials said there was no threat to students.
“We want the public to know that we feel like this was an isolated incident and we opened the college as normal today,” school spokesperson Elliott said. “Our students, staff and faculty do not need to be worried about being unsafe here, because it was handled very quickly.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.