CYPRESS ( — Authorities Saturday said a man who matched the description of a knife-wielding suspect has been found dead after allegedly setting fire to a Cypress home.

Cypress police officer Paulo Morales said officers initially received a 6:50 a.m. call of a man wielding a large knife — the kind a chef would use — in the area of Orangewood Avenue and Valley View Street.

“We had some officers responding to the area and by the time they got to the park area at Orangewood [Avenue] and Holder [Street], a subject matching the description that was provided by the caller was seen here in the park by one of the officers,” Morales said.

Morales said the officer gave a verbal command to the suspect, described as a shirtless Black male in tan shorts, who took off running.

The suspect allegedly made his way into the backyard of a residence in the 11000 block of Panay Street, prompting officers to establish a perimeter.

Police said the man broke into a home through a back window.

Morales said that almost immediately, officers observed smoke coming from the home. They alerted the fire department but were forced to retreat due to the fire danger.

“Approximately 7:30 or so, the suspect started a fire inside the structure,” Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Capt. Steve Concialdi said. “Orange County Fire sent a working fire response … four engines, two truck companies. Cypress PD had the house surrounded and there was a perimeter set up.”

Eventually, officers made entry into the home and found a man matching the description of the suspect dead. He was believed to be about 25 years old. The cause of death was not known.

The OCFA says the fire caused an estimated $120,000 in damage to the home and its contents but no other structures were damaged.

A neighbor told police that the residents of the home were away in Europe on vacation.

“I’m just happy they weren’t home,” said neighbor Anthony Orosco, “it’s kind of a blessing. If they were home, who knows what could’ve happened.”

Witnesses told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen that they saw the suspect at a park across from the home.

“About 6:45 in the morning … throwing a knife at the trees. If it stuck, he would go get it and throw it again. If it didn’t stick, he’d pick it up and throw it again,” said Sandee Lopez.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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