An 11-hour standoff with an arson suspect who climbed a tree to escape arrest in Marion County

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On January 1, 2023, an MCSO deputy located a male arson suspect, identified as Kropp, who was traveling westbound in a vehicle on Highway 318 in Citra, according to MCSO.

The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed, and the deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The sheriff’s office stated that Kropp placed his middle finger out of the driver’s side window and refused to stop.

An MCSO deputy successfully deployed stop sticks, which forced the vehicle to come to a stop. Kropp exited the vehicle while holding a baseball bat, and deputies issued several commands for him to stop and drop the weapon.

According to the sheriff’s office, Kropp pulled out a machete, and a deputy deployed a taser in an attempt to detain Kropp. MCSO stated that the taser did not affect Kropp, and he proceeded to flee on foot into a nearby wooded area.

An MCSO corporal and K-9 partner arrived on scene and began to track the area in search of Kropp. The K-9 partner led deputies on a 20-minute track to a tree, where Kropp was hiding.

Deputies requested for Kropp to come down, and he stated that he was unable to feel his legs. Kropp then climbed higher into the tree.

After nearly 11 hours of negotiations, Kropp eventually came down from the tree and was detained in handcuffs. While investigating the incident, MCSO discovered that the vehicle Kropp was driving had been reported stolen out of Tennessee.

Kropp was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail. He was charged with second-degree arson, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, along with a misdemeanor charge for resisting an officer without violence.

According to Marion County court records, Kroop underwent several psychological evaluations, and it was ultimately determined that he was “mentally/physically unable to stand trial.” After an order finding Kropp “incompetent” was filed in June of 2023, he was sent to a state hospital.

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