Attempted arson of MLK Jr.'s birth home thwarted, suspect in custody

Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry informed the media that the house was at risk of catching fire within seconds after the gasoline was poured.

Attempted arson of MLK Jr.'s birth home thwarted, suspect in custody
Zachary Eugene Kempf via Storyful
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On Thursday, authorities apprehended a woman for trying to set fire to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace in Atlanta, Georgia with gasoline.

The 26-year-old suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed, faces charges including attempted arson and attempting to damage government property. She may also incur federal charges related to the incident, Fox News reports.

Atlanta police were called to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home just after 5:45 p.m. on Thursday due to reports of vandalism. Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum reported that two Utah tourists witnessed the woman soaking plants, the porch, and the front door with a gasoline-like substance. They intervened as she tried to ignite a lighter.

Two off-duty New York City Police officers, who were in the city at the time, restrained the woman until local Atlanta Police officers reached the location.

Fox 5 Atlanta's video footage captures the officers apprehending the woman on the ground.

The Atlanta Fire Department's Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry informed the media that the house was at risk of catching fire within seconds after the gasoline was poured. The fire department's HAZMAT unit was engaged to remove the gasoline from the premises.

Situated on Auburn Avenue, mere blocks from the King Center, King National Historical Park, and the beloved Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home is a key historical site in the area. Currently undergoing renovations, it will not open to the public until its restoration is finished in 2025.

The birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., an iconic two-story Queen Anne-style house constructed in 1895, is essential to preserving the memories of the early years of Martin Luther King Jr. and his siblings.

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