More information is coming to light about Monday night’s arrest of Cannibal Corpse guitarist Pat O’Brien in Florida on charges of burglary and aggravated assault, the incident in question occurring as a fire broke out in O’Brien’s nearby home.
Crews responded to reports of a fire in the Northdale suburb of Tampa just after 7 p.m. EST on Monday, per channel WFTS 28 news, but firefighters had difficulty controlling the blaze bolstered by ammunition and “military-style flamethrowers” that were being stored inside the home. (“It was like the end of a fireworks display,” one neighbor tells WFLA 8. “That loud bang. It was crazy.”) And before it was clear that the house on fire belonged to O’Brien, a home invasion at a separate residence was unfolding a short distance away.
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O’Brien allegedly forced himself into a home just a half-mile from his own rental property, situated across a green at the Northdale Golf and Tennis Club golf course. Two people were reportedly inside the home, and one told the musician “to get out of the house immediately” before O’Brien pushed the other to the ground. At one point, the death-metal guitarist hid inside a closet of the house, as noted by Blabbermouth.net. And he warned his victims of a “rapture,” according to the homeowner, who declined to speak on camera.
The owner of the home also suspects the musician might have been hallucinating; O’Brien reportedly mentioned that “someone was after him” during the home invasion on Northdale’s Windflower Circle. Watch that report directly below:
But when the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene, O’Brien, 53, was found hiding behind a fence in the home’s backyard. Reportedly, the Cannibal Corpse member did not obey the sheriff’s commands, and he ran toward one deputy with a knife in his hand. Taken down with a taser, O’Brien was arrested. He’s charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, and burglary of an occupied dwelling with assault or battery. He’s not yet been charged in the house fire.
As for his reported incendiary devices, it would appear that O’Brien’s previously been spotted allegedly brandishing a flamethrower. “An across the street neighbor who knows him said he has a flame thrower or something,” explains the aforementioned onlooker, Caroline North. “And he practices with it. I don’t know if it was purposely or stupidly,” she adds. (As noted by the Tampa Bay Times, it’s legal to buy flamethrowers online.)
Surrounding houses in the neighborhood were evacuated for a time during the blaze. Another neighbor was the first to call 911 on Monday night after reportedly smelling the smoke and seeing flames coming from the home next door.
The musician appeared in court yesterday wearing an anti-suicide vest, as shown in the below news footage. O’Brien was being detained at Tampa’s Hillsborough County Jail. His bond is currently set at $50,000, contingent on a drug test.
Cannibal Corpse—the veteran death-metal act whose latest album Red Before Black just dropped last fall—are due to hit the road with Slayer starting next year. It’s currently unclear if O’Brien will still be participating in the concert tour.
See other news reports about O’Brien here:
What do you make of the longtime Cannibal Corpse guitarist’s arrest? Did you know that it was legal to purchase a flamethrower on the internet? Sound off in the comments section and let us know your take on the recent incident.