WAUKESHA - Waukesha police took a person of interest in custody Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 2 after a woman was set on fire Wednesday morning in an "unprovoked attack." Police said there were three more fires a short time later, and before those were set, a man was struck by a vehicle. The chaos prompted a "lockout" at Waukesha schools.
The 39-year-old man taken into custody is believed to be connected to both cases.
Amber Fuller, 30, identified by family as the victim of a Waukesha attack in which she was set on fire while walking her dogs
According to police, just before 9 a.m., officers and firefighters responded to the area near E. Broadway and N. Racine Avenue for the report of the woman set on fire. First responders immediately provided "advanced care," and the woman was taken to an area burn center.
Witnesses told police this was an "unprovoked attack" and "provided a limited description of a white male suspect."
The victim's mother thought it was a prank when she got the phone call from police while at work.
Amber Fuller, a massage therapist, was getting ready to head to work Wednesday morning. It was around 8:45 a.m., and the 30-year-old was walking her two dogs, BB and Brady when their normal routine was flipped on its head. Christine Fuller said at first, she thought Amber had been in a car crash.
She said her daughter told her a man came up behind her, and as Amber ran to get away, the person threw accelerant on her. Amber tripped and fell to the ground. The man then ignited the accelerant.
Female set on fire in Waukesha
Amber Fuller was taken to the hospital; Christine saying she suffered second- and third-degree burns, mostly on her right arm, abdomen and back.
Shortly thereafter, around 9:15 a.m., officials with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department said an 83-year-old man was struck by a vehicle near Foxvale Court and River Road. Then, sheriff's officials the 39-year-old suspect set two vehicles on fire, one in an attached garage and the other in a driveway -- both extinguished by homeowners. It's believed the man also set fire to a detached workshop -- extinguished by firefighters, but not before the flames caused significant damage.
Arrest in Waukesha fires Wednesday morning
Waukesha schools were placed under "lockout" while investigators searched for the 39-year-old -- found near Barker Road and Bluemound Road in Brookfield, where he was taken into custody.
Christine Fuller said Wednesday she's just trying to process the events of the day, and why her daughter was set on fire.
"This is something nightmares are made of," she said.