Columbia police arrest homeless man accused of swinging machete, setting tent on fire

COLUMBIA, Mo - UPDATE 5:30 pm: Branch was charged with arson, assault and armed criminal action.

ORIGINAL STORY: Columbia police arrested Jason Branch after officers were dispatched to a physical disturbance with a weapon in the 1900 block of North Providence Road. 

Branch was accused of swinging a machete around in a threatening manner towards two people in a transient camp in the woods. 

Police said they located Branch in a tent. He refused to come out of the tent and stabbed a machete through it in the direction of an officer.

Branch continued to refuse officers commands to exit the tent and set it on fire. 

Officers said they had to cut the tent apart to get Branch out and extinguish the fire. 

Police said several no trespassing signs were posted around the tent. 

Branch was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and was later released 

Branch faces possible charges of armed criminal action, arson, assault and trespassing. 


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