A Maryland man accused of stabbing his 81-year-old mother multiple times before setting their home on fire will make his first court appearance Friday afternoon.
At first, the early morning fire in the 4600 block of Iris Street in Rockville seemed like a tragic accident. Dozens of firefighters surrounded the home, working to put out the flames and rescue Somaya Haleem as her son looked on.
But hours later, 57-year-old Hani Haleem had been charged with first-degree murder after confessing to stabbing his mother and setting their home on fire, Montgomery County police said.
Shouki Alsakir saw Hani Haleem in front of the burning home. He thought his neighbor was upset about the fire and his mother who was trapped inside.
"He was shirtless, just running from the house. I felt really bad for him," Alsakir said.
Investigators returned to the home Friday morning to collect evidence from what has become a crime scene.
"It's really shocking.I was feeling sympathy for him and his family but I hope that he goes to jail forever," neighbor Lupe Miranda said.
Two firefighters also received minor injuries at the scene.
Investigators are still working to determine if Haleem died from stab wounds or injuries from the fire.
"We're sick," Haleem's other son, Sam, told News4 earlier in the day, before the arrest. "It's just a horrendous thing to lose somebody you love in the wink of an eye, especially in a tragedy like this."
Hani Haleem is being held without bond.