Hall County

Police: Woman tries to stab deputies trying rescue her from church fire she set

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A local woman faces a number of serious charges after Hall County Sheriff deputies said she tried to stab them while they rescued her from a burning church.

"It doesn't sound like something normal," said Pastor Juanfer Monsalve of the Gainesville Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Deputies said Dana Lawton, 33, is accused of breaking into the church in Hall County and setting a fire in a back room.

"Were still trying to figure out. There's a lot of smoke so we're cleaning," Monsalve said.


Deputies believe Lawton and a man first broke into a shed at a home near the church Sunday evening.

They said when the homeowner spotted the two, the man took off towards the woods and Lawton headed for the church and started the fire.

Deputies pulled Lawton from the smoke and flames, but they said she attacked.

"As they were taking her into custody, she tried to stab them with an ink pen that she had in her hand. Fortunately, none of our folks were hurt," said Derreck Booth with the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Lawton, who deputies said has prior drug charges, was not hurt in the fire. She now faces charges of 
burglary, arson and obstruction.

"Were just praying for her. Hopefully she gets the help that she needs," Monsalve said.

The man who was with Lawton is still on the loose.