Charges: St. Paul man appeared 'paranoid' after firing guns, lighting apartment on fire


Prosecutors say a St. Paul man fired guns in his apartment and then lit the residency on fire because he thought people were trying to get him.

Leon Edward Mastel, 26, is charged with two counts of arson and reckless discharge of a firearm in connection with the July 20 incident.

According to the criminal complaint:

St. Paul police and fire departments responded to a fire at 1164 Mackubin St. in St. Paul Monday afternoon after reports of shots fired.

Police made contact with Mastel, who told them "guys" were coming to kill him so he shot at them. He added that he set his apartment on fire to prevent them from getting him and jumped out his window to the parking lot to get away.

Mastel had trouble answering investigators' questions, with police noting he appeared "very paranoid". He was transported to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, and was interviewed by police again later.

In the second interview, Mastel told police he thought someone had hacked into his cellphone, noting he thought his ex-girlfriend had sent people to get him.

On the day of the incident, he heard the doorknob turn and could hear "them" coming in, so he threatened to shoot.

He could still hear them walking toward his bedroom, so he fired multiple shots through the door using a shotgun and a .22 magnum.

He then soaked a notebook in cologne and aftershave and lit it on fire, throwing boxes of facial tissue and a pillow on top.

He grabbed his samurai sword and tried to open the bedroom door, but it was too hot. Eventually the smoke got too thick, so he broke his window with the shotgun and jumped out.

Mastel's mother told police he does have depression and anxiety, but she was unaware if he had ever been diagnosed with a mental illness. She also told investigators that her son told her the night before that someone was trying to get him.

Upon investigation, police observed several bullet holes in the bedroom door and bedroom closet door, photos in the criminal complaint show.

Images also show the damage to Mastel's apartment, which the fire department estimates at $50,000, the Pioneer Press says.

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