Milwaukee woman accused; setting fires in apartment building

Valerie King

A 23-year-old Milwaukee woman is accused of setting fires in an apartment building near 55th and Congress. The accused is Valerie King – and she faces the following criminal counts: 

  • Arson of building, use of a dangerous weapon
  • Bail jumping (misdemeanor)

According to the criminal complaint, Milwaukee police were dispatched to a residence near 55th and Congress on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 24. When the officers arrived on the scene, they "observed smoke downstairs and upstairs." They spoke with residents of the apartment building who "stated a Black female in Apt. #14 started a fire in the building."

When officers spoke with the resident in Apt. #14, she identified herself as Valerie King. She told police "people in the building is harassing her," the complaint says. The stated she did not know who set the fire, and she was not involved. King stated she "attempted to call police several times."

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One resident spoke with police and stated he came out of his apartment and spotted a fire. The man said he "grabbed the fire extinguisher and put the fire out." He then said he saw a Black woman "at the end of the hallway intentionally starting a fire on the ground holding the lighter fluid and lighter," the complaint says. The man followed behind her -- and put that fire out. The man stated he then confronted King, "which is when he observed a knife in her hand," the complaint says. The man told police King attempted to approach him -- and he stated to King to get back.

While in building, officers "observed a black and gray steak knife on the ground in front of Apt. #14. King's residence smelled of lighter fluid, and she also had the glass from one of the fire extinguisher cases inside her apartment," the complaint says.

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King made her initial appearance in Milwaukee County court on Saturday, Jan. 28. Cash bond was set at $1,000.