A 25-year-old man was charged with assault with intent to murder yesterday after his estranged girlfriend and one of her fellow College Park motel employes were doused with gasoline and set on fire with matches, according to Prince George's County police.
The two victims, Carla Scott, 21, of Northwest Washington and Craig Cronin, 38, of Hyattsville, were taken to the Washington Hospital Center after police and firefighters converged on the Best Western Royal Pine Motel at 9113 Baltimore Blvd. near the University of Maryland, while startled motel guests rushed from their rooms to watch.
Last night, Scott was listed in fair condition at the hospital with second-degree burns over her back and arms. Cronin was listed in serious but stable condition, a spokeswoman said, with second- and third-degree burns over his face, hands and upper body.
County police, acting on information provided by Scott when they arrived at the motel, arrested Thomas Emmitt Williams about 45 minutes after the 8:30 a.m. incident. Williams was driving his Chevy Blazer, in which he apparently has been living, along Good Luck Road in Riverdale when he was picked up, police said.
Williams was charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, police said.
Robert Law, a police spokesman, said that Scott apparently had ended a relationship with Williams a month ago, but Williams did not accept the breakup. Law said the two had been feuding off and on for several weeks, and the dispute came to a head yesterday morning.
Williams went into the lobby of the motel where Scott works about 8:30 a.m. yesterday, carrying a small container, police said. Both Scott and Cronin were working behind the counter of the motel, which caters mostly to university students and university-generated traffic.
Police said Williams confronted Scott as he entered the lobby, yelling at her and throwing what they believe was gasoline on the woman.
When Cronin tried to intervene, police said, Williams poured the flammable liquid on him, too. Then Williams ignited the liquid with matches, police said.
Scott and Cronin ran from the lobby of the motel to a nearby room for help, Law said. Police were uncertain how they extinguished the fire.
A witness, Tim Ware, was quoted in wire service accounts as saying that an alarm sounded and guests heard running inside the motel building.
"And then we got out and that's when everything started going kind of crazy -- the fire trucks got here and everyone was outside and we saw the guy who had been burned and it was a real mess," Ware said.