Arrest made in connection to Hawthorn fire

Witte, a Mizzou swimmer, is being held in the Boone County Jail with a $20,000 bond.

Sophomore Keiser A. Witte, a member of the Missouri men’s swimming team, was arrested by MUPD around 8 p.m. on Saturday and charged with two counts of first-degree arson.

MUPD spokesman Scott Richardson said the department identified Witte as a suspect after reviewing surveillance footage from Hawthorn Hall. Witte was then contacted by the department and brought in for questioning.

Richardson said Witte was arrested upon completion of the interview, but declined to comment on whether Witte had confessed to counts of arson as the case is still under investigation.

Mizzou Athletics spokesperson Kate Lakin provided the following statement: “Over the weekend, Athletics became aware of the situation, and Keiser was immediately suspended from the program. The suspension is indefinite as we continue to work with authorities to learn more.”

Witte was booked into the Boone County Jail at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. He is currently being held there with a $20,000 bond.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said a “small fire” around 10 a.m. Saturday at Hawthorn Hall triggered the building’s sprinkler system and prompted an evacuation.

Basi said all residents were safely evacuated for about an hour and a half and no injuries were reported.

Basi said the Columbia Fire Department is investigating the incident. Officials from the department were unavailable for comment.

Basi said the sprinkler system caused water damage to 16 rooms in the building.

He said Department of Residential Life staff are working with residents to replace and repair damaged belongings and find new living spaces.

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