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HomeWorldWitnesses stop Dr. King's birth home from being burned

Witnesses stop Dr. King’s birth home from being burned

  • Arson attempt thwarted
  • Prompt bystander intervention
  • Significant historic preservation

According to the Atlanta, Georgia police, vigilant bystanders averted a woman’s attempt to torch the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.

Officials commend the prompt action, stating it “preserved a significant segment of American history.”

The defendant is currently detained on suspicion of arson attempt and interference with government property following the purported act of pouring fuel onto the residence.

Dr. King spent his first twelve years in this two-story mansion, now a national landmark.

The National Park Service acquired the structure’s interior in 2018 and has been closing it to the public for restorations and renovations since last month.

On Thursday, at approximately 17:45 local time (22:45 GMT), officers were dispatched to the Auburn Avenue Historic District. This was in response to ongoing vandalism, according to a news release from the Atlanta Police Department.

One bystander told the New York Times that 26-year-old Laneisha Shantrice Henderson was the suspect. Ms Henderson, described by her father and three sisters as a veteran in mental distress, was at the scene.

On Thursday night, police announced that the accused would be transferred to the local jail following a mental health evaluation.

A video distributed to the local WSB-TV news channel depicts an all-black-clad woman dousing the home’s front veranda and windows.

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Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters that two off-duty police officers from New York and two visiting filmmakers from Utah, present at the residence, had already apprehended the perpetrator when law enforcement arrived.

Zach Kempf, one of the filmmakers, told the New York Times that he initially believed she was watering shrubs before she hurried up the stairs, pulled on the front screen door, and emptied a five-gallon container’s contents into the shrubbery. Ignoring inquiries, she retrieved a lighter from the grass.

Mr. Kempf stated that the woman exuded a “nervous energy” but was not belligerent. She retreated when he physically obstructed her path.

He called 911 and two New York City officers detained the subject until local officials arrived.

According to local fire officials, the residence sustained no damage, and a hazardous materials team assisted with the cleanup.

Fire Chief Jerry DeBerry said the house could have burned in seconds without the witnesses who stopped her.

According to fire chief Jerry DeBerry, the witnesses’ precise location and arrival time were crucial.

The King Centre confirmed the arson attempt was thwarted “due to the courageous intervention of good Samaritans and the prompt response of law enforcement” in a statement. It added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the person suspected of having committed this heinous act.”

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