Enraged Ex Starts Fire with Divorce Papers, Authorities Say


Ask anydivorce attorney in Pasadena and they'll tell you that retaliating against your ex is never a good idea. For further proof, let's look at the bizarre case of Shawn Robyn Gawronski. Gawronski was arrested last week for setting fire to his ex-wife's beauty salon in Missoula, Montana. Even crazier is that the 33-year-old Gawronski recently told Missoula County sheriff's detectives that he used his divorce papers to start the fire.

According to the affidavit filed by Missoula County Deputy Attorney Patricia Bower, while the Gifted Hands Salon was burning, Shawn Gawronski sat in his truck with a gun in his hands as sheriff's deputies arrived early in the morning on Monday, March 21.

"The court finds you to be a threat to both the victim and the community," Missoula County Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech said on Tuesday. She also set Gawronski's bail at $200,000, double the amount Bower requested. Not content with setting the fire, Gawronski also admitted to slashing the tires on the vehicles belonging to his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law and her boyfriend. After an outburst from Gawronski's brother in the courtroom, Orzech set a higher bail and ordered Gawronski to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Officers who arrived at the scene of the fire searched Gawronski's truck with his permission and found a Browning 9mm handgun, a near empty matchbook, a plastic milk container containing what authorities say looked and smelled like gasoline, a razor blade knife and two pairs of gloves. Once inside the salon, deputies found Gawronski's divorce papers on a couch. According to the deputies, he doused the salon floor in gasoline but had trouble getting lit so he used his divorce papers and some mail to start the blaze.

"He returned to his truck and watched the fire burn. ... Shawn said he did not want to hurt anyone and was just very angry at his wife," the affidavit said.

Gawronski's estranged wife Jennifer Warner appeared in court but declined to comment after the proceedings. If charged with arson, he could face up 20 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Gawronski's next court appearance will take place on April 6.