NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former Rutgers student has been charged with setting a fire in a school building last week that forced the evacuation of more than 200 students taking a final exam.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said Thursday that 21-year-old Shayam Sridhar, of Edison, was charged with second-degree aggravated arson. Prosecutors say he set the fire last Saturday in the Allison Road Classroom at Rutgers’ Busch campus in Piscataway.
He was being held on $75,000 bail at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Prosecutors say he left Rutgers after spending time as a student this semester but that he planned to return next month.
No one was injured in the fire, but prosecutors say it heavily damaged portions of a hallway and classroom.
*Update: NBC 10 recently reported:
The defense lawyer for a former Rutgers University student charged with setting fire to a campus building says his client suffers from mental illness.
NJ.com reports that William Fetky said during opening arguments of Shyam Sridhar’s trial Tuesday that he has a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia.
Sridhar is on trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated arson and other trials.
Prosecutors say he set fire to a 30-foot section of hallway and classroom of a building at Rutgers’ Busch Campus in December 2014.
Sridhar’s psychiatrist says he’s not a danger to others as long as he takes his medication.