Police: Concord man admits to dousing twin sister in gasoline, lighting her on fire

Monitor staff
Published: 12/15/2016 2:14:06 PM

Tamika Crawford was lying in a snowbank, most of her upper body severely burned, when police arrived at her Woodbine Avenue home before dawn Thursday.

Her two young sons and her 37-year-old twin brother, Dwayne Crawford, were standing nearby, while smoke poured out of the second floor, according to the account of Officer Brendan Ryder, who arrived shortly after 2:48 a.m.

“I did it, I lit her on fire,” Crawford said to Ryder of his burnt sister, according to a sworn affidavit. 

Damage to the 66 Woodbine Ave. home, where the twins lived, was minimal. But Tamika Crawford suffered “severe and disfiguring burns,” police said.

Dwayne Crawford admitted more than once, police said, that he was the one who doused his sister in gasoline and lit her on fire.

“As Dwayne stated this, he displayed very little affect and expressed no emotion,” Ryder said.

Ryder arrested Crawford, charging him with attempted murder and arson. He was arraigned hours later and ordered held without bail.

Tamika Crawford was brought to Concord Hospital, then to a Boston hospital, to be treated for third-degree burns, police said.

It was unclear what provoked the attack, which police said occurred overnight with the victim’s two young sons nearby. Detective Sgt. Sean Ford didn’t return a phone call Thursday.

But, according to court documents, both Crawfords are known to Concord police.

Dwayne Crawford was charged in 2014 with simple assault and resisting arrest at his then-Pitman Street apartment, when police said he struggled with and attempted to fight officers. Both of those charges were dismissed, however.

Tamika Crawford pleaded guilty to at least three minor offenses since 2011. In those cases, which were described as simple assault and criminal mischief, she pushed a woman in the Concord Hospital emergency room, punched a hole in that hospital’s wall and swung a crutch at a lamp in her mother’s home, breaking it.

In one case, she agreed as part of a negotiated plea deal to undergo a course on anger management.

As Tamika Crawford was brought to an ambulance, she corroborated her brother’s admission, yelling, “my brother did this, my brother did this ... you have to arrest him,” Ryder wrote.

When Ryder conferred with two other officers at the scene, he learned that Dwayne Crawford had separately confessed to them that he “did it,” Ryder wrote. Tamika Crawford also told an officer that she had “divulged her two juvenile sons and Concord Fire that Dwayne had poured gasoline on her and lit her on fire.”

Dwayne Crawford is being held without bail at the Merrimack County jail. He’s charged with five felonies: arson, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless conduct and criminal mischief.

Concord police roped off the 66 Woodbine Ave., home, investigating throughout the day Thursday with the help of the state fire marshal’s office, state police and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Minimal fire damage could be seen from the exterior of the 1985 home, which is listed as owned by the twins’ mother, Rebecca Crawford.

According to his public Facebook profile, Dwayne Crawford considered himself to be an elite “gamer,” specializing in the popular first-person shooter Call of Duty.

The status of Tamika Crawford’s health was unknown Thursday evening.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)

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