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By Shelby Mack / The Bakersfield Californian
BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A torrent of water spilled from the upstairs residence into Frank Rodriguez's apartment for the third time in three months.
Rodriguez called police Sunday night, and what had been a dispute between neighbors became a criminal matter when the upstairs neighbor, Neil Lindo, pepper sprayed an officer, barricaded himself inside, threatened to kill anyone who tried to enter and then set the place on fire, police reported.
Lindo left the residence in the 2000 block of F Street shortly after starting the blaze and was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer, criminal threats, resisting arrest, cruelty to an animal and arson, police said. The cruelty offense stems from the death of Lindo's pit bull puppy, who died in the fire.
Rodriguez managed to save his own dog during the mayhem. He said he ran back inside his downstairs apartment and rescued his Chihuahua, Daisy, when he saw the flames spreading.
"It was like a haystack," Rodriguez said of the fire.
When he came back out with his dog, Rodriguez said there were a bunch of officers on Lindo as they took him into custody. Lindo was screaming, he said.
The two have had run-ins before, Rodriguez said. The first time he complained to Lindo about water streaming into his apartment, Lindo used an expletive and told Rodriguez to get away from his door.
Sometimes Lindo would respond to greetings, other times he wouldn't acknowledge people, Rodriguez said. He said Lindo would often just give people a blank stare.
Rodriguez managed to salvage a few belongings, but most of his possessions either burned or sustained severe water damage. He said the Red Cross is putting him up in a hotel the next three nights.
After that, he's not sure what he'll do.
A next-door neighbor, Nicole Barreneche, said she cried when she saw the damage done to the residence. She said Lindo seemed fascinated by water, and she recalled he would turn the hose on in the yard and create a little lake.
Police said they were called to the residence shortly after 10 p.m. When officers contacted Lindo, he pepper sprayed one of them and then locked himself in his residence, police said.
Lindo then began breaking out windows and items inside his residence, according to police. He told officers he was armed with a gun and a knife, police said.
It was shortly after he began breaking items that Lindo set the place ablaze, police said.
Lindo is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. He's being held on $107,500 bail.