32-Year-Old Man Arrested in Connection of Haskell University Teepee Fire

Ryan Sekayouma Simpson – Photo courtesy of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Published May 14, 2020

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Police in Lawrence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made an arrest Thursday afternoon in connection to the teepee fire on a Native college campus that occurred early last Saturday morning.

The teepee was erected on Haskell Indian Nations University’s campus to honor the university’s spring graduation class.

Arrested was Ryan Sekayouma Simpson, a 32-year-old American Indian man, who was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of intentional arson and two counts of criminal trespassing. According to the Douglas County Jail website, Simpson remained in custody on Thursday evening.

At about 4:30 a.m. last Saturday, May 9, the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Department was called to the university campus because the teepee was on fire.

The motive remains unknown on Thursday evening.

In a press release, the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical expressed its appreciation to the Lawrence Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Haskell Indian Nations University, for their assistance during this investigation. 

Haskell Indian Nations University is a federally operated university. Haskell was originally an Indian boarding school when it was established in 1884. It now has a student population of 1,000 each semester. 

 

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