Police arrest arson suspect

Man allegedly threatened officer with a knife near Kootenai Medical Center

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A construction storage trailer damaged in an arson fire Thursday evening on the north side of Kootenai Health's main campus is taped off Friday.

COEUR d'ALENE - A man discharged from Kootenai Medical Center allegedly turned right around and lit construction equipment on fire Thursday night on the hospital campus.

Clark E. Richman, 43, was arrested and booked into Kootenai County jail after the incident. He's charged with second-degree arson, aggravated assault and battery on a police officer, which are all felonies. A judge set his bail at $100,000 Friday.

Coeur d'Alene police said Richman is a Denver resident, but jail officials said he lives in Sandpoint. He has a criminal record in California that includes petit theft and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

Coeur d'Alene police said Richman started a fire that burned a construction trailer and partially damaged another one on the north edge of the hospital campus.

He also is accused of pulling a knife on a Coeur d'Alene police officer who responded to the fire. Police said the knife had a 3-inch blade.

On a video released by police Friday, captured from a camera worn by the officer, Richman announced he had a knife. The officer repeatedly tells Richman to drop the knife and back away from it. The officer pulled his gun during the confrontation.

While handcuffed and being escorted to a patrol car, police said Richman allegedly kicked an officer in the knee.

In a statement, police chief Wayne Longo said his officers acted quickly and responsibly to end the situation.

"This was a very dangerous call for our officers and I'm grateful no one was hurt," Longo said.

In the video, the officer said, "Hey pal, do you have I.D. on you, man?"

Richman responded, "No, I just got dropped off at the hospital, I don't have (expletive) on me."

Becky Orchard, a spokeswoman for Kootenai Health, said he checked into the emergency room and was treated for an undisclosed condition and released.

Orchard said he then walked to an area behind the hospital where construction equipment was parked and allegedly set the fire. Hospital officials declined to say how long he had been at the hospital.

Kim Anderson, also of Kootenai Health, said the construction equipment was on campus as work is being done on a cafeteria at the hospital.

A total of 19 firefighters responded between the city's fire department and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.

Coeur d'Alene deputy fire chief Glenn Lauper said the construction trailer is owned by Ginno Construction Co., of Coeur d'Alene. Representatives at Ginno couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

"Other structures were threatened by this fire, and that's why we responded with everything," Lauper said.

The city responded with three engines and two ambulances, and Kootenai County provided another engine, he said.

"The fire was intentionally set using material found at the scene," Lauper said.

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