Homicide Investigation

***Updated as of October 9, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.***

The victim, 60-year-old, James Heffernan was pronounced deceased on October 7, 2018 at 4:18 p.m., at the trauma center.

On October 9, 2018 at approximately 8:15 a.m., the suspect, 44-year-old Harold Rosenbaum, was charged with Murder in the First Degree.

***End of Update***

***Original News Release***

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
Investigative Operations Bureau
- Robbery & Homicide Unit
- Arson/Auto Theft Unit

Eastlake Fire Rescue

James Heffernan (Victim - Injured)
DOB: 11/25/1957
Address: Transient

David Mahoney (Witness – Injured)
DOB: 06/25/1954
Address: Transient

Harold Rosenbaum Jr. (Arrested Suspect - Uninjured)
DOB: 11/17/1973
Address: Transient
Charges: One count of Attempted Murder

What:
Detectives arrest a man after he intentionally set another man on fire at a homeless camp in Oldsmar.

When:
The incident was reported at about 12:28 a.m., on October 6, 2018.

The suspect was arrested at about 8:37 p.m., on October 6, 2018.     

Where:
The incident occurred in a wooded area, southeast of Tampa Road and Eastlake Road in Oldsmar. The incident occurred approximately 600 feet south of Tampa Road at a homeless camp.

Why/How:
According to detectives, at about 12:28 a.m. on October 6, 2018, deputies and Eastlake Fire Rescue were dispatched for a fire in a wooded area southeast of Tampa Road and Eastlake Road in Oldsmar. The incident occurred at a homeless camp, approximately 600 feet south of Tampa Road. The wooded area is owned by Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Detectives say when deputies arrived on-scene, 60-year-old, James Heffernan, was suffering severe burns to approximately 75 percent of his body. Heffernan was transported to a local trauma center along with 64-year-old, David Mahoney, who suffered burns related to extinguishing the fire. A third subject, 44-year-old Harold Rosenbaum Jr., was uninjured in the incident. All three men were intoxicated.  

Through their investigation, detectives learned an argument occurred between Heffernan and Rosenbaum, inside the tent at the homeless camp. The argument became physical, and Heffernan exited the tent with Rosenbaum following after him.

Detectives say Heffernan and Rosenbaum continued the argument outside of the tent and Rosenbaum picked up a gasoline can as Heffernan struggled to get it away from him. Moments later, Mahoney exited the tent and observed Heffernan fully engulfed in flames. After struggling with Heffernan for a few minutes, Mahoney was able to extinguish the fire, which caused burns to his hands and feet. 

Through various investigative techniques, detectives were able to determine Rosenbaum had poured gasoline onto Heffernan and set him on fire.

On October 6, 2018, at approximately 8:37 p.m., Rosenbaum was arrested and transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident.

Rosenbaum was charged with one count of Attempted Murder.

Mahoney remains in a local trauma center with non-life threatening injuries.

Heffernan remains in a local trauma center in critical condition.  

The investigation continues.  

The booking photo of Rosenbaum was unavailable at the time of this release.

Posted by Jessica Mackesy Saturday, October 6, 2018 9:30:00 PM Categories: Crimes Against Persons

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