2 more charged in connection to Racine's Thelma Orr COP arson

Jason Young (L) and Anthony McNeil (R)

RACINE -- Two more people have been charged in connection the arson of Thelma Orr Community-Oriented Policing House that happened early Monday, June 1 amid protests following the officer-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In total, four people have now been charged.

Anthony McNeil, 27, of Racine and Jason Young, 30, of Racine face charges on multiple counts related to the incident according to official documents released Thursday, June 11.

Justin Hernandez and Kylie Gelmi

On June 4, Justin Hernandez, 25, of Racine and Kylie Gelmi, 20, of Mount Pleasant were also charged in connection to the incident; they, too, face multiple counts related to the incident.

The Thelma Orr COP House is located at 1146 Villa Street in Racine. Racine Police Chief Art Howell said on June 1 that Thelma Orr is Racine's equivalent to Rosa Parks.

Those who knew Orr said she was a civil rights activist who strove to unite police and the community.

Fire damages Racine's Thelma Orr Community Policing House

Fire damages Racine's Thelma Orr Community Policing House

According to a criminal complaint, investigators found extensive damage on the first floor of the building near the west rear door; it was determined that that damage was consistent with a fire-starting event using a liquid fire accelerant.

Investigators viewed photos and social media videos related to the fire.

The complaint states that in a video taken by Hernandez shows a black male -- later identified as Young -- adding tinder to a fire inside the COP House kitchen. Around the same time, another black male -- later identified as McNeil -- is shown throwing a paving stone through a window of the COP House. McNeil then entered the COP House and can be seen in Hernandez's video adding more fuel to the fire inside the COP House kitchen before coming out with a box of beverages and handing them to people outside. In the same video, McNeil was seen standing in front of a Racine Fire Department truck, blocking them from coming to the fire with a large metal stop sign on a pole, according to the complaint.

In an interview with police, McNeil admitted that he was at all three protests locations in Racine the night of the arson and had the metal pole in front of the fire truck, claiming he was trying to help the truck get through the crowd. He also admitted to taking beverages and offering them from the COP House, but denied going inside the building.

Young admitted to being at the protests and the COP House fire, but denied he had entered the COP House, in an interview with police.

Young faces two counts: arson of buildings, party to a crime; and burglary of a building or dwelling, party to a crime.

McNeil faces three counts: arson of building, party to a crime; burglary of a building or dwelling, party to a crime; and interference with fire fighting, alarms/firefighters - repeater. He was previously convicted of armed robbery in Racine in 2011 and was incarcerated from July 2011 to November 2018.

All four people charged in the incident have court appearances scheduled in July.