Authorities are saying a Dawsonville man was so mad after a drug deal that he walked to a neighbor's home where he poured gasoline on two cars and a deck before igniting the flame and setting the home ablaze while children were inside.
Russell Lee Wessinger, 44, was taken into custody at the Silver Fox Drive scene, off of Price Road, Saturday afternoon on nearly two dozen charges ranging from arson, child cruelty and aggravated assault, to terroristic acts, criminal damage to property and criminal attempt.
He is also charged with theft by taking for allegedly stealing tools from the yard of the home.
The five children and an adult that were inside the home when it was doused in gasoline and ignited were able to escape without injury.
Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford said there was minimal damage to the home.
Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten said the investigation has revealed Wessinger reportedly started the fire in retaliation after he found out that he had purchased fake marijuana from an unidentified subject.
Investigators are trying to determine a connection between the unidentified subject and residents of the home where Wessinger started the fire, because "the person who sold him that marijuana doesn't live there," Wooten said.
Wessinger had allegedly entered the home prior to returning and setting the fire, according to a 9-1-1 call made from the house.
"He was approached by a juvenile at the home," Wooten said. "In a second 9-1-1 call, they said he was coming back up the driveway with a gas can."
Deputies said Wessinger was walking away from the scene when they arrived. They also said the fire was visible behind the home.
A gas can recovered behind the home displayed Wessigner's name, according to Wooten.
While Deputies Ethan Taffar and Eric Johnson took Wessinger into custody at gunpoint, a third officer, Jamie Grulla, used the fire extinguisher from his patrol car to contain the fire.
In a twist, the two adults that live at the home were also arrested on separate drug charges that resulted when officials were conducting their investigation into the fire.
Wooten said drug paraphernalia inside the home led to a search warrant by law enforcement, who found "a clear baggie of crystal-like substance believed to methamphetamine, a leafy substance believed to be marijuana" and drug related objects in the couple's bedroom.
Stanley Rutledge Jr., 32, and Rebecca Danielle Day, 26, were each charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug related objects.
The children, including two that lived at the home, were released to family members.