Man arrested after fight, fire at homeless camp in Columbia
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man on Tuesday more than a week after he allegedly swung a machete at other people and set the tent he was in on fire.
According to police, the fight happened January 21 at a homeless camp on Providence Road. One of those involved said Jason Branch had been swinging a machete at him and a woman.
Officers found Branch inside a tent at the camp, and said he refused to come out. When a sergeant tried to unzip the door to the tent, Branch allegedly stabbed the machete through the tent fabric toward the officer.
Police continued to encourage Branch to come out, but he refused, and at one point apparently set the tent on fire. Officers cut the tent open around Branch and got him out.
Medics took Branch to a hospital for evaluation. He was released Tuesday afternoon, at which point police arrested him on suspicion of armed criminal action, arson, assault, and trespassing.