Samuel Lee Bassett: Air Force Veteran Arrested For Trying To Save His Dog Trapped In House Fire

Samuel Lee Bassett just wanted to save his beloved dog from his burning home, but instead the Chicago man ended up behind bars when police charged him for striking a police officer and trying to enter the building.

The incident happened Friday night on the 11300 block of South Elizabeth. The 48-year-old Bassett reportedly got into a scuffle with police, when he tried to run back into the burning home and save his dog.

The fire had broken out when a combustible material caught fire in an enclosed area, NBC Chicago reported. The fire spread quickly, and grew so large that three firefighters had to be taken to area hospitals.

Samuel Lee Bassett reportedly hit an officer at the scene who tried to keep him from running into the burning home to save the dog. Police charged him with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer and two misdemeanor counts of resisting a peace officer.

Fire officials at the scene said that Bassett repeated tried to enter the home while firefighters were still inside.

“They kept trying to keep him out of the building ’cause it was unsafe for him to go in,” said Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen. “He wanted to go in.”

Eventually, an officer had to put handcuffs on Bassett, but he was able to raise his right arm with a close fist and hit the officer in the face. During the scuffle, an officer also hit Bassett in the face with the handcuffs, leaving a gash that was visible on Bassett’s mugshot.

The Air Force veteran was held on $300,000 bond, and Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said that Bassett should have handled the situation differently.

“You should have more respect for police officers,” the judge said.

Samuel Lee Bassett is expected back in court on Friday to face charges. On top of his arrest, Bassett also suffered another loss — firefighters weren’t able to save the dog, which was found dead in the home after the fire.

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