Rape suspect dies in fire after police standoff, DA says
HILLTOWN, Pa. – A man awaiting trial on rape and kidnapping charges in connection with an alleged crime New Year’s Day died in a fire at his suburban Philadelphia home following a standoff with police, authorities said.
Curtis Fish, 48, died of smoke inhalation following Tuesday afternoon’s blaze in Hilltown Township, the Bucks County coroner’s office said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Fish got into a confrontation with a pedestrian while on a motorcycle and then smashed the windows of a nearby tavern, the county district attorney’s office said. An officer deployed a stun gun, but it wasn’t effective and Fish was able to enter his home.
Township police and Special Response Team officers surrounded the residence, and authorities said Fish then “lit and threw M-80-type fireworks at police.” The home was soon afterward engulfed in flames, which were extinguished at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, and the suspect’s body was found inside, authorities said.
Fish had been released on reduced bail in January but was taken into custody again on a bench warrant in March, prosecutors said. His attorney again sought his release, arguing that no new court dates were being scheduled, and despite what prosecutors called their “strong objection” he was freed April 2 on electronic monitoring.
Defense attorney Louis Busico told The (Allentown) Morning Call that the lack of hearings due to the COVID19 pandemic was keeping his client incarcerated “somewhat indefinitely.”
“He could’ve languished in there for God knows how long,” he said Wednesday.