EDGEWOOD, MD. (WJZ) — Police have charged 60-year-old Bobbie Sue Hodge with murder and arson for setting the townhouse in Edgewood where she lived on fire — killing three of her roommates and severely injuring two more.
Neighbor Shantel Best recorded video of Hodge fleeing the home in the 1800-block of Simons Court. It shows her rushing out with her dog.READ MORE: Towson Shooting Being Investigated As A Homicide, Police Say
Best told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that Hodge seemed “panicked” and described where everyone was inside the home. “I don’t know whether she was acting so she wouldn’t be considered a suspect,” Best said.
Hodge spoke to WJZ after the fire. She said the smoke alarm woke her up.
“People who live in the basement with me woke up screaming, ‘Get out! Fire!’” Hodge said at the time. “I exploded into tears. I started praying for the people who perished. I heard them screaming. We’ve got to say a prayer for them.”
She recounted where the victims were in the home.
“There were five people on the third floor, one on the second, three in the basement. They wouldn’t have been able to get out because that’s their room right there,” Hodge said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve got it in God’s hands.”
Ernest Milton Lee, Kimberly Ann Shupe and Dionne Dominique Hill all died in the fire. Shupe’s family members attended a press conference Tuesday where the Harford County sheriff announced charges. They declined to comment on the case.READ MORE: WATCH: Mayor Brandon Scott Set To Provide Second American Rescue Announcement Tuesday
Police said they believe Hodge acted alone. According to charging documents, she set the fire on the second floor. “We’re just glad to bring some closure and justice to the families of the victims,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler. He described the deaths as “horrific.”
Hodge is in jail on no bail. She has a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
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A survivor who jumped from the top floor said two of the victims told him Hodge started the fire. “Lee and Dee said, ‘That b**** set the couch on fire again.’” He told Hellgren she was angry after being given an eviction notice.
Authorities said the townhouse was illegally being used as a group home with nine people living inside.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: Over 4 Million Marylanders Fully Vaccinated
The fire marshal said if sprinklers had been installed in the property, they would have saved lives.