Sub Shop Owner Linked to Explosion
A recently executed search warrant provided new details on the case.
(Editor's Note: In case you missed it, additional details have been revealed in the Feburary explosion at the Sub Shop in Lorton. Here's our story about the case from earlier this week.)
New details have emerged in last month's explosion at the Sub Shop in Lorton. A suspect, 25-year-old Horace Thompson, is being held without bond, and has been declared by Fairfax County Police as an "associate" of Sub Shop owner Lawrence Reese. Additionally, police have executed a search warrant on a vehicle belonging to Reese.
Reese and Thompson were both injured by the blast, which came from inside the sandwich shop, located at 9504 Richmond Hwy., at around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Reese recently told WJLA that the incident was "to my knowledge, a freak accident," and that Thompson, the suspect being held, saved him from the blaze. He said that Thompson walked into the store while he was unloading groceries from his car and lit a cigar while using the bathroom, which ignited the blaze, he told WJLA.
Reese, who has not been charged, would not comment on the record with Patch during an hour-long meeting Wednesday. He deferred all questions to an attorney, but declined to provide an attorney's name or phone number.
Reese was injured by the blast and suffered third-degree burns. He spoke to Patch from the Washington Burn Center the day after the incident, and said he was rescued — dragged from the building — but could not remember exactly what happened.
"Statements from the suspect and business owner are inconsistent with the preliminary findings in this investigation and evidence at the scene," a warrant from police reads.
After the explosion, on Feb. 12, Fairfax County Police officers saw a parked 1987 Chevrolet van in the parking lot outside the Sub Shop. The van, registered to Reese, was searched and yielded two gas cans - each with approximately four ounces of fluid.
"The fire appears to have been started in the rear of the business and gasoline was used to accelerate the fire," according to the search warrant affidavit. "On February 11, 2013 an arson warrant was issued for an associate of the business's owner who suffered burns to his face and hands."
Washington Metropolitan Police arrested Thompson, who has no fixed address, on Feb. 14, after his release from the Washington Burn Center. He was transferred to Fairfax County and served with warrants for arson of an occupied building and aggravated malicious wounding. Thompson will make a plea at a preliminary hearing in Fairfax County Criminal Court on May 8.
The Sub Shop has seen its share of troubles. Two years ago, the restaurant and a doctor's office next door were destroyed by an electrical fire. In October 2012, a thief broke in through the roof and tore up the interior of the Sub Shop and spray-painted the exterior.
The FBI, the Fairfax County Fire Marshal's office, Police and K9 units responded to the incident, which remains under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.