By Darrell Smith
Police say the gas leak and attempted arson at a Davis fraternity house early Sunday was a deliberate trap set to maim and kill and have called on federal agents to aid in its investigation.
"We're taking it extremely seriously," Davis assistant police chief Darren Pytel said Monday of the leak at Kappa Sigma house, 642 Adams St., adding whomever caused the gas leak was "deliberately setting a trap where someone could be injured or killed."
Pytel said Davis police have contacted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and are working with university fire and police. UC Davis spokesman Keith Sterling said the university is "deeply concerned" by Sunday's events and has pledged to "do anything we can to assist" in the investigation.
Davis police were called about 1 p.m. Sunday to the fraternity, a townhouse-style building in the center of a neighborhood densely packed with multi-family apartments near Russell Boulevard and Highway 113, police officials said. Pytel said fraternity members first detected the strong smell of natural gas 12 hours earlier at about 1 a.m. Sunday, along with evidence that someone tried to set a fire to trigger the fumes.
Pytel said six fraternity members were at the home. Suspects and a motive remained a mystery Monday.
"We don't have any suspects or obvious leads," Pytel said at Davis police headquarters. "There was nothing that suggested they were being targeted."
A Bee reporter who attempted to speak to Kappa Sigma students at the house Monday was told to leave the premises. Fraternity leaders reached later by telephone declined to comment.
Video report from KTXL television: