Arrests made for Lutcher High School arson and burglary

Published 6:27 am Monday, July 25, 2022

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On July 24, 2022, after 4:30 am, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from the alarm company that does the monitoring at Lutcher High School, and deputies were advised that the fire alarm had been triggered. Deputies, along with the Fire Department were dispatched to the school.
Deputies and fire department members arrived at the school and discovered entry was made into the main building where the fire alarm was triggered. At the time of deputies arriving at the school, no one was in the building. During the initial search of the school, deputies discovered that a fire was started in the main office.
Deputies also discovered five classrooms vandalized, the cafeteria was vandalized and also the main office, where the fire was started.
Detectives began their investigation, along with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and processed the scene for evidence. As the pictures were circulated of the 3 suspects, tips started coming in as to the identity of the 3 suspects. The Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of Gramercy Police Department made contact with one of the suspects and he was taken into custody. Subsequently, the other 2 suspects turned themselves into Detectives.
As of Sunday evening, Justin Kruger, 19 years old of Paulina, Mason Ainsworth, 18 years old of Paulina, and a 17 year old male juvenile from Gramercy are in custody. All 3 are former students at Lutcher High School. Kruger and Ainsworth are currently being booked into the St. James Parish Detention Center (jail) on the charges of R.S. 14:62 Simple Burglary and R.S. 14:52 Simple Arson. The juvenile was also arrested and booked on R.S. 14:62 Simple Burglary and R.S. 14:52 Simple Arson. All charges are felony charges and will require bond to be set by a judge.
During the investigation at Lutcher High, it was learned that a residence in Gramercy was attempted to be broken into, along with 3 vehicles. Gramercy Police Department responded to these calls and processed the scene for evidence. Video footage was also obtained, matching Kruger, Ainsworth and the juvenile. All 3 are also being charged with 4 counts of Attempted Simple Burglary.