UPDATE: Serial Arsonist Arrested for Attempted Murder

David Diaz made headlines when he burned the body of a man in Buena Vista Park in 2011, and again in 2016 when he lit several fires in the Castro District.

David Diaz (Courtesy Public Defender’s Office)

A serial arsonist who’s been convicted of multiple felonies was arrested Thursday on a slew of new charges, including attempted murder, arson causing great bodily injury, false imprisonment, and possession or manufacture of combustible material or incendiary device. Police apprehended David Munoz Diaz, 28, at 1080 Folsom St. at 4 p.m. on March 8. Details of the assault that resulted in the above charges have yet to be released.

Update, 3:15 p.m.: SFPD tells SF Weekly that the arrest was made following an incident that took place on the 1000 block of Folsom Street on Feb. 19, 2018. Diaz allegedly set a victim on fire. 

Tamara Aparton from the San Francisco Public Defender’s office confirmed Diaz’s identity with SF Weekly Friday and said that the office will be defending him on the latest round of charges. 

Diaz is well known to authorities. In 2014, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello, whose body was found burning in a blue recycling bin in Buena Vista Park in 2011. The pair had allegedly met in the Castro, and walked to the park to have sex. At some point during the encounter, Canul-Arguello was strangled to death. Diaz claimed he panicked, and burned the body in the bin to cover the evidence.

After the jury dismissed murder charges and settled on involuntary manslaughter, Diaz’s attorney, Alex Lilien, told the Examiner that he was relieved.

“David is a sweet kid who never meant to hurt anyone,” Lilien said. “Freddy’s death was a terrible, tragic accident.”

Diaz was sentenced to four years in prison — but because he had served more than three years while awaiting trial, he was released shortly after his sentencing date.

Less than a year later, however, Diaz was arrested again — this time for arson. In January 2015, police apprehended him in connection with a fire that was set at Up Hair salon near 18th and Castro streets. He was later charged for a string of vehicle arsons, as well as for lighting porta-potties and the Noe Little Free Library on fire. He was released in September of 2016, after being ordered to register as an arsonist, and was sentenced to a year of mandatory supervision.

Diaz’s booking photo, after his 2016 arrest. (Photo: SFPD)

Only two months after that, in November of 2016, Diaz found himself in custody yet once more, this time for assault, battery with serious bodily injury, and false imprisonment after he handcuffed one man, and bit a chunk out of another man’s scalp while he impersonated a police officer outside a club in SoMa. He pled guilty in February of 2017 to felony false imprisonment and was released from jail the following month on probation.


This is a breaking news story. We’ll update as pertinent information becomes available.

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