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Man indicted after starting car fire with toddler inside

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Posted at 10:44 AM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:38-04

A man was indicted after a McLennan Community College police officer found him in the trunk of his car with a fire, and his toddler in the backseat on April 19.

Jake Laskowski, a former student at MCC, was indicted on Thursday.

Around midnight on April 19, an MCC officer was making normal rounds through the campus when he found a suspicious car in parking lot I with smoke coming out of it. 

The officer checked out the car and found a 2 1/2-year-old girl sitting in the back seat and Laskowski in the trunk igniting a fire.

"It is quite surprising. We don't have a lot of things happen on campus like this. This was particularly scary for us," McLennan Community College Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Elliott said.

Waco police, fire department and EMS arrived and called in the McLennan County Sheriff's Office helicopter to use thermal imaging to look for other people involved or possibly hurt in the incident. No one else was found. 

Laskowski and the toddler were cleared by EMS before he was taken to jail and the toddler to CPS custody. 

He is now facing three felony charges, injury to a child, endangering a child and aggravated assault with intent to cause death. 

Several MCC students Central Texas News Now spoke with were shocked to hear it happened where they usually park their vehicles when they have night classes.

"To hear that it happened here in this parking lot, it's beyond measure, startling and emotional," MCC Student Mason Matus said. "To hear that a student from MCC did this is heartbreaking, especially with a toddler in the back."

MCC police investigated the situation, but classes remained normal on Thursday. The school believes this was an isolated incident. 

MCC said the school is thankful that they have a police department to keep them safe.

"The police department did a great job, doing exactly what they were supposed to do and making sure they contained the situation and that no one else was hurt," Elliott said.

Matus said officers are visible patrolling the campus day and night.

"I appreciate all the work they do on campus to keep the kids safe."

Laskowski is being held at the McLennan County Jail on an $85,000 bond. 

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