Police: Arson arrest may have gang ties

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Aug. 23, 2012 the felony charges related to arson against Yuriy Shor Jr. were dropped. Subsequently, on Aug. 11, 2014, Shor's record was expunged.

NORCROSS -- The 41-year-old woman awoke the morning of April 10 to find her Norcross townhome spray-painted with ominous threats, a racial epithet and the telltale markings of a murderous street gang.

Most alarmingly, the home also bore fresh burn marks and traces of ash, police say. The woman, her family and her neighbors clamped down in fear.

Gwinnett police this week arrested a 20-year-old Norcross man on charges he set fire to the McEachern Way townhome after tagging it in graffiti. He's a former family friend, the alleged victim told the Daily Post.

Yuriy Shor Jr. remains jailed without bond on charges of first-degree arson and criminal trespass following his Sunday arrest.

Police allege Shor dotted the townhome, located off Holcomb Bridge Road, in the words "Murder comin'" with an arrow pointing to the unit, a racial epithet, a dollar sign and "MS-13," a representation of the violent street gang. He then attempted to set fire to the home's wooden siding, causing minor damage as the family slept inside, according to a police report.

Reached on her cell phone, the alleged victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said Shor was a friend of her 18-year-old son at Norcross High School and that Shor's motives were a mystery to her. The incident alarmed her family and others residing in the four-unit townhouse, she said. She declined further comment.

A responding officer determined the burn marks were fresh "as there was still ash on the ground," the report says. Burn patterns showed the perpetrator tried to light exposed wires on fire as well, the officer noted.

The gang MS-13 -- or Mara Salvatrucha -- has warred with itself and rival gangs in Gwinnett for more than a decade. Authorities announcing a 26-person indictment against alleged MS-13 associates in March said its members have been linked to seven murders in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.

Members are said to hail from El Salvador and nearby countries like Guatemala and Honduras. Shor is a native of the Ukraine, according to jail records