Woman sets fire to north PHX apartment after assaulting neighbors

Phoenix Police
Posted at 1:58 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 15:58:19-05

PHOENIX — A north Phoenix woman allegedly set fire to her apartment after assaulting her neighbors and police officers.

Phoenix police report that on Wednesday, they responded to an apartment complex near 7th Street and Hatcher Road after residents called saying Melinda Inez Hempstead, 56, was throwing things at them.

One victim reportedly told police that he was hit and cut with a flower pot that was thrown at him, and Hempstead allegedly came after another man with a knife.

She eventually barricaded herself in her apartment and stood in the window with a large knife, police say. Police saw her pour lighter fluid on the floor of her home and a mophead. At one point, police say Hempstead opened a window and sprayed officers with 'Fix-a-flat.'

As police were evacuating residents, Hempstead allegedly lit the mop on fire and used it to light her couch on fire.

Officers grabbed her when she opened a bedroom door and pulled her out of the apartment.

Additional officers entered the home and put out the fire.

Hempstead is being held on a $200,000 cash bond for aggravated assault and arson.