UPDATE: Father of 3 children rescued from fire charged with arson


A Riviera Beach man charged with setting an apartment on fire with his three young children inside Friday refused to appear for his scheduled court hearing Saturday.

Circuit Court Judge Mark Eissey rescheduled the initial hearing for Velmando J. Williams, 22, for Sunday.

Williams is accused of attempted murder, first-degree arson, false imprisonment and simple domestic battery after authorities alleged that he intentionally started a fire at the Stonybrook Apartments Friday evening during an argument with the mother of his children. Neighboring residents and city firefighters rushed into the burning the apartment to save a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old and a 1-month-old from the fire.

For more news on crime, click here

The two older children were treated at the scene while the infant was taken to the St. Mary’s Medical Center as a trauma patient. An update on the child’s condition was not available Saturday morning.

A State Fire Marshal investigator responded to scene and the determined that the fire had been set intentionally.

The situation unfolded just before 5:45 p.m. Friday in the 1500 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. Officers were called to investigate a domestic dispute. Additional callers reported a structure fire at the same location and informed officers three young children were inside.

Williams was identified as the suspect after investigators spoke to the children’s mother and other witnesses. Court records show that Williams has a history of arrests in Palm Beach County, including a 2015 arrest on multiple counts of aggravated battery.

Prosecutors dropped three counts and reduced a charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant person from a felony to a misdemeanor, court records show. Williams as placed on 12 months probation in July after negotiating a plea agreement.

Investigators are still seeking information about Friday’s incident. Anyone with related information is asked to call the Riviera Beach Police Department at 561-845-4123, or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS (8477).

Staff Writer Hannah Winston contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Hannah Winston contributed to this report.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Father’s dying wish fulfilled as his 7 daughters stage wedding ceremony
Father’s dying wish fulfilled as his 7 daughters stage wedding ceremony

Seven brides for one dying father. An Ohio man was granted his final wish shortly before he died from brain cancer, as he got to give away his seven daughters in a bridal ceremony. William L. “Willie” Shelton died on Oct. 16 at the age of 44. Only one of his daughters is married, but all seven of them decided to create a ceremony so...
JUST IN: Police ID man killed in West Palm shootings; 3 injured
JUST IN: Police ID man killed in West Palm shootings; 3 injured

One man died and three others were injured after two separate shootings took place in West Palm Beach on Friday night. West Palm Beach police have identified the deceased victim as 24-year-old Marquell Larrice Green. At 8:45 p.m., officers responded to a neighborhood near North Sapodilla Avenue and Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and found Green dead at...
Indictment of FBI informant complicates West Palm terrorism case
Indictment of FBI informant complicates West Palm terrorism case

Attorney Donnie Murrell was driving to the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce in June when his cell phone rang and he was asked to head back to West Palm Beach to represent a Palm Beach County man charged with wire fraud. He had no idea what he was about to get into. This week, four months after he agreed to represent career con artist Mohammed Agbareia...
‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child
‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child

“Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child, Us Weekly reported Friday. It is the second child for the couple. Their daughter was born in 2011, Us Weekly reported. The couple did not publicly confirm the second pregnancy, but Us Weekly confirmed they were spotted with their newborn...
In love, Lake Worth woman gave online stranger $1 million, lost it all
In love, Lake Worth woman gave online stranger $1 million, lost it all

After placing her profile on an online dating site seven years ago, Debby Montgomery deleted most of the responses. “The guys were losers,” she recalled. “Some asked for money within a week of meeting online.” But when she logged on to the site on November 14, 2010, one message spoke to her soul. “I am in search of...
More Stories