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New details emerge on gym owner accused of starting deadly Ingram Square fire

Murder and arson suspect Emond Johnson (Photo: Bexar County Sheriff's Office)

SAN ANTONIO – More details have surfaced on a gym owner who was arrested and charged with starting a deadly fire at a Northwest Side shopping center.

The May 18th fire that broke out at the Ingram Square Mall killed San Antonio Firefighter Scott Deem and injured Firefighter Brad Phipps.

Fox San Antonio learned Emond Johnson, owner of the Spartan Box Gym, was violating CrossFit policy on social media and falsely certifying himself as a trainer with the company.

“Our records indicate that Emond took our CrossFit level 1 trainer course. But he failed his test. He didn't actually pass the course so he was never officially a CrossFit level 1 trainer. He is not a CrossFit trainer he doesn't in any way represent us or any of our affiliates,” said Russell Berger, a spokesperson for CrossFit during a phone interview.

Johnson's personal website lists that he is a certified CrossFit trainer.

Berger also told Fox San Antonio that Johnson had more on file.

“We also have records that came in from multiple sources over the last few years that he has been using the CrossFit trademark. The CrossFit brand name in association with his personal gym which is intellectual property theft,” added Berger.

A few weeks after the Ingram Square fire, Johnson started using the CrossFit Born Ready facility in Helotes to train his clients.

“We created at 7:30pm class and that was solely for his members,” said AJ Mora, Head Coach.

As an act of kindness, Mora allowed Johnson to use the space at no cost. But since Johnson’s arrest, Mora’s feelings have changed.

“For him to be coming here and coaching and smiling like nothing happened. That's what angers me,” added Mora.

Johnson failed his CrossFit trainer test in 2013. He remains at the Bexar County Jail.

Johnson was booked on both arson and murder charges in connection to the Ingram Square fire.

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