Angry over 3-year-old's taunts, woman turns lighter fluid bottle on group: police

VERNON, Conn. -- A Vernon, Connecticut, woman faces charges after police say she squirted lighter fluid at a group of neighbors that included a child and a pregnant woman.

Police were called to apartments on Union Street around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday night, according to WTIC.

There was a heated exchange between Laverne Mayo, 48, and a several other neighbors outside, police said.

The cause of the dispute? Police believe Mayo was furious after a 3-year-old who lives in a nearby apartment was taunted her through the window.

When the argument became heated, police said, Mayo picked up a bottle of lighter fluid and sprayed it toward the group.

"Some of this fluid struck the arm of one of the adults, who had pushed a 15-year-old child that was standing with the group out of the way so the child would not be struck," Lt. William Meier said in a statement.

Pam Schultz said as soon as her family members saw Mayo grab a bottle of lighter fluid, they protected the kids, including a 15-year-old, 10-year-old and a 3-year-old. “We started pulling everybody away because she said she was gonna blow us up," said Schultz.

Schultz said she and her daughter, Alisha Baker, along with a pregnant niece, were all sprayed with lighter fluid.

Mayo is charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to a child. She appeared in court Wednesday and was released on a promise to appear at her next court date, with the condition that she not interact or contact her neighbors.

Some neighbors were upset with the decision, according to WTIC. Alisha Baker said, “She said she was gonna light us all on fire. She's dangerous and shouldn't be around children.”

Police say they’ve been called to the address to help settle other disputes.

Mayo has several prior convictions including interfering with police and resisting arrest. She’s due back on court August 31.