Man found dead after Bronx fire may have been killed earlier

MORRISANIA, Bronx (WABC) -- A man was found dead inside a burning building in the Bronx late Monday, and police say the fire may be suspicious.

Firefighters made the disturbing discovery just before midnight in the Morrisania section.

NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters responded to the scene on Freeman Street. Russell Henry, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene.

He reportedly lived on the ground floor of the three-story home. Several other neighbors were able to get out of the building safely.

"My daughter said it was smoky and we all ran outside, and then I saw them pull a body out of the building," a resident said.

Neighbor Jerry Smith is the one who called police.

"I think it's pretty sad," he said. "I noticed the smoke coming out from the apartment there, and I started banging on the door to see if anybody was there...But then flames started coming from under the door, and that's when I called the fire department."

Sources tell Eyewitness News that Henry was dead before the blaze began, and that initial findings indicate someone set him on fire.

Broderick Coleman watched as firefighters brought his friend's lifeless body outside to the front of the home.

"Someone called me and told me the house was on fire," he said. "Russell was a good dude, loving, caring, a father of two kids...just out here trying to get his life back on track."

Coleman said Henry recently got out of jail, and that his family owned the building but put the house on the market several years ago.

"He had just bought a house down in Florida," Coleman said. "He didn't want to do the back and forth thing. He left Russell here to watch the building."

The cause of the fire is to be determined by the New York City Fire Marshal.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to contact police.

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