Business still standing; Good Samaritan tackles suspect who doused Jacksonville bar in gasoline

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jug Saloon is still standing today after a man doused it in gasoline, Wednesday afternoon. And it’s all because a good Samaritan tackled the suspect before he could light the fire.

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But even after this close call, the iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd dive bar reopened soon after the incident.

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The Jug Saloon owner, Kenneth Gray, said he knows the man who tried to burn the place down.

“He’s a regular,” Gray said. “And, he said ‘I’m going to burn the place down,’ and then he attempted to burn the place down.”

A normal day at the Jug Saloon quickly turned into a very scary one. Gray said the suspect goes to the bar almost every day, but today, he brought problems – the size of two large jugs of gasoline.

Around 4 p.m., surveillance video shows him arguing with someone in the back of the business, and then you see him walk inside. That’s when Gray said the man was ready to start a fire.

Soon after, Gray said one of his employees called the police.

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“She told me that one of the customers that come in, [came] with a couple of gallons of gas in each hand and was dousing it around and was saying he was going to burn the place down,” Gray said.

In the surveillance video, you can see the man pouring the gas inside the building.

“I’m concerned not only for the bar, but for his well-being with him being in that mental state,” Gray said.

In the video, you can see the moment when everyone realized he had doused the place with fuel. But soon after, a good Samaritan took action and tackled him.

Gray says the suspect’s behavior came out of nowhere.

“I would have never thought in a million years that he would do something like this,” Gray said.

Gray said the suspect then ran into the woods, and police looked for him with a chopper and a K-9 unit.

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“We’re going to make sure that he don’t come in again – we’re going to have that fixed,” Gray said. “But we won’t have him come in running around with gasoline trying to burn the place down.”

Gray says a lot of people like coming to this place and taking pictures. The bar was named after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Gimme Three Steps.”

Gray says after hours of searching, the suspect has been arrested.

Police on scene said the State Fire Marshal is investigating.

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