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Dennis L. Butler Jr.

Dennis L. Butler Jr. 


HAMMOND — Police have secured felony charges against a 29-year-old man accused of trying to burn down his girlfriend's home Tuesday with her and her two children inside.

Dennis Levell Butler Jr., of Hammond, faces several felony charges including attempted arson, criminal confinement and domestic battery, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Lake Criminal Court on Friday.

He also faces felony charges of domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, strangulation and battery resulting in bodily injury.

Even after the mother and her children escaped the home, Butler continued to chase them into the streets, the affidavit states. He ran off only when the female victim pulled a gun out of her coat pocket, fired one warning shot and then shot him in the leg — reportedly in response to him choke-slamming her son to the ground, court records show. 

Police were dispatched about 1 a.m. to the area of Kennedy Avenue and Gibson Place for a report of shots fired to find a 33-year-old woman running down the street with her two children, ages 10 and 13.

Butler arrived home earlier that night, stumbling and speaking "gibberish" as she went to bed, records show. She later awoke to Butler allegedly choking her. When she broke free, she ran into her children's bedroom, court records state.

After Butler went into the basement and returned with two bottles of acetone, the woman "could hear the sounds of pouring from the kitchen" and throughout the house, court records show.

Butler said he had a match and allegedly threatened to set the whole place on fire, according to the affidavit.

As the three ran out the door toward Kennedy Avenue, one of the children was pushed to the ground by Butler as he tried to stop Butler from hurting his mother, court records show.

Out in the street, Butler had "something metallic in his hand" and allegedly threatened to light them all on fire, the affidavit stated.

After she shot him in the leg and he ran off, she went back to the home to find Butler had started a blaze by setting fire to some drapes, a bag of clothes and a glue bottle on a lit stove, records show.

Police caught up with Butler in the 2600 block of Cleveland Street with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Fire investigators found Butler had drenched the living room and kitchen with acetone. Two one-gallon cans of acetone were also found in the home, records show.


Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.