Police, SWAT investigating at home in Thomasville

Student accused of setting high school teacher on fire

Gabriela Peñalba (Credit: Facebook)

Gabriela Peñalba (Credit: Facebook)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A 15-year-old boy was arrested after authorities said he set his teacher on fire during class.

WATE reported that the suspect lit his teacher’s hair and shirt with a lighter when she had her back turned to the class.

The victim was identified as Gabriela Peñalba, a 23-year-old science teacher at West High School in Knoxville. Authorities said it happened around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

Officials said the teacher did not suffer serious burns, as other students quickly helped to put the fire out.

School officials said the student tossed the lighter out of a nearby window and fled, but was soon caught by school resource officers.

The unidentified suspect reportedly confessed to the crime in a police interview. His motive remains unclear.

Authorities said the student was charged with aggravated assault and evading arrest and taken to a juvenile detention facility.

Source: WATE