Arson suspect accused of terrorizing Gaithersburg apartment community

A Montgomery County man is facing multiple charges that include three counts of first-degree arson and reckless endangerment for actions that include trying to set neighbor’s apartment doors on fire.

Online court information shows 39-year-old Nong Gosakwattana was arrested on a warrant after Montgomery County Police and a fire investigator responded to a complaint made at the Gaithersburg apartment complex located at the 400 block of North Frederick Avenue.

Investigators say on June 10, the occupants of an apartment reported being inside their unit when they heard someone walking up the stairwell. 

The resident reportedly turned to their front door to see a flash of flame enter their apartment from underneath. Investigators say the man opened the door and quickly put out the fire, identifying Gosakwattana as the suspect.

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When FOX 5 spoke to neighbors at the complex, they say a second apartment door was also targeted, around June 8th according to investigators, but those neighbors claimed this is not the half of it.

"Now we might feel safe and can sleep at night. We’ve been asking the management for help for at least five to six months now and they don’t give us any answers," said one of the building’s long-time neighbors who asked not to be identified.

She and others claim the suspect had been "terrorizing" neighbors since at least Christmas and described multiple incidents where first responders had to be called.

One video shared with FOX 5 appears to show SWAT entering into the suspect’s home. Neighbors say they called police after allegedly seeing the suspect walk around the complex with a gun. They also accused the suspect of shooting toward front doors.

Neighbors also described calling the fire department for a strong odor of gas. We’re told the Fire Marshal discovered open containers of gasoline in the suspect’s apartment.

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The Montgomery County Fire and Police Departments have not yet confirmed they responded to these two earlier incidents as neighbors claim.  

The Gaithersburg tenants tell FOX 5 there were other problems they reported to management as well, but they were apparently told the suspect could be not be evicted because of the COVID-19 moratoriums placed on evictions.

FOX 5 also reached out to the building’s owner and management company. Both were identified as the Montgomery County Housing Partnership and Residential One, respectively.

"Very unnerving. It’s been, the day that my door got shot. I – it was terrifying because somebody could’ve – my family members or I could’ve been trying to leave the house," said another neighbor who asked not to be identified.

Gosakwattana is facing a charge for damage done after shooting at a front apartment door with a BB gun.

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Court documents say Gosakwattana admitted to the burn marks on the apartment doors while claiming he’d heard voices and had been treated at several hospitals.

Neighbors showed FOX 5 the darkened and shattered apartment windows to the suspect’s apartment unit.

Inside, court documents say investigators observed several holes in the interior walls made with fists, BB’s and knives. He also charged for that damage and for removing a bedroom smoke detector.  

An investigator also confirmed Gosakwattana was served a 30-day notice to vacate the property.

No family members could be reached on Wednesday.

A preliminary hearing is set for July 16.