Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story identified a person the Lake County Sheriff’s Office previously said had been charged in connection with the fire, but has been updated after officials said he was misidentified and the charges against him were dropped. This story has been updated to include information on the new suspect accused of setting the fire.
CROWN POINT, Ind. — A new suspect has been charged with setting a fire inside the Lake County, Indiana jail after a man previously arrested was misidentified, according to officials.
Terrance Craig, 40, of Gary, has been charged with two counts of arson and one count of intimidation, according to online court records.
The charges against a man previously accused of setting the fire have been dismissed, the prosecutor’s office said.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Craig told an officer at the Hammond police station on Monday he was the one who set the fire inside the jail.
The sheriff’s office previously identified a 26-year-old man arrested in Tinley Park in connection with the fire.
In a lengthy statement issued on Thursday, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said detectives were considering two suspects from the beginning of the investigation.
You can read his full statement below.
“Based on new information gathered by Lake County Sheriff’s Department investigators, a new suspect has been arrested in connection with the jail lobby fire that occurred on June 5, 2023. The suspect is identified as 40-year-old Terrance Craig, of Gary. He was booked into the Lake County Jail June 12, 2023.
“From the beginning of this investigation, our detectives were considering two persons of interest. One was Ryan Andrews, who was identified in a photo lineup by witnesses. A warrant for Andrews was issued so that we could find him and question him. Both Andrews and Craig shared some similar physical characteristics and both had previous contact with police for disruptive incidents. Terrance Craig surfaced as a potential suspect based on information from tips. There was an initial lineup including Craig’s photo, but witnesses could not identify him. This could be because in the booking photo we had of Craig at the time, his face was fuller than it appears now. Craig evidently lost weight since that booking photo was taken, which changed his appearance drastically. Regardless of who we may arrest as suspects, we are always gathering new information and new avenues of investigation. Also, just because enough evidence is gathered to charge an individual, it does not mean they will be convicted. The investigative process is always ongoing. Based on the new information gathered, we were able to request a recall of the warrant for Andrews and for him to be released.
“I believe the process worked as it should in this case, and I am proud of the work of our detectives in establishing Terrance Craig as the new primary suspect in this case. They continue to follow up on leads, which is something we do with every case. No law enforcement agency wants to arrest the wrong person for a crime; but it’s part of the normal investigative process that we look for additional information and try to verify that information. A couple of days after Andrews was taken into custody by Tinley Park police and awaiting extradition, we received additional intelligence on Terrance Craig. By following up on this information, the detectives were able to determine Andrews was no longer a suspect. The ability to analyze new details, scrutinize it and explore new avenues of investigation is simply part of what we do as police officers. It’s because our officers exercised due diligence in their investigation that we were able to have charges against the first suspect dropped. It shows that we continue working on leads regardless of who we may have in custody.
“We released the video of the incident in an effort to solicit the public’s help in solving the case and to get a potentially dangerous person off the street quickly. Initial information, including witness statements, led investigators to believe that Andrews was the suspect connected with the fire. After a warrant for Andrews was issued and after he was arrested, we released the most current information we had at the time to try to keep the public informed of progress on the case. Decisions to release or post details on social media of on any criminal investigation are made on a case by case basis. We value the assistance our community provides us and the cooperative relationship we have with the citizens we serve.
“Our officers acted in good faith. They have shown that they continue to work cases and evaluate leads to try to uncover the most accurate representation of what has occurred during criminal incidents. That’s just how investigations work and it’s why our investigations are never over.
“We are constantly engaged in a process of looking at new leads and information.”
No one was injured in the fire.