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Tags: martin luther king jr. | landmark | atlanta | arsonist | arrest | nypd officers

Woman Charged With Trying to Burn MLK Birthplace

By    |   Friday, 08 December 2023 09:39 AM EST

A woman is under arrest in Atlanta after allegedly trying to set fire to the birth home of late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with two off-duty New York City police officers reportedly jumping on her and holding her down until the Atlanta police arrived at the scene.

Atlanta police said in a statement that the 26-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, poured gasoline at the historic property, located at 501 Auburn Avenue, and that multiple witnesses stopped her from going any further, CBS News reported.

The woman is being held on charges of criminal attempted arson and second-degree interference with government property. The National Park Service bought the property in 2018 and closed it for public tours last month in order to undertake an extensive renovation project, scheduled for completion in November 2025.

The birthplace home, built in 1895, has long been a landmark in both the community and nation while remembering King's life. He was born in the home on Jan. 15, 1929, and lived there until he was 12 years old, according to the National Park Service.

The home is located about three miles to the east of the Mercedes Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.

The King Center said in a statement that "fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good Samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement."

Two off-duty New York City Police Department officers were among those who stopped the woman from lighting the gasoline, the New York Post reported.

The officers, who were visiting the landmark home, jumped on the woman after she pulled out a lighter, holding her down until the Atlanta police arrived.

Video played on Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV shows a woman, dressed in all black, pouring gasoline on the King home's front porch, window, and hedges at about 5:45 p.m.

Police said two tourists from Utah stopped the suspect before the off-duty police officers jumped on her when she tried to ignite the lighter.

"That action saved an important part of American history tonight," Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told WSB-TV.

According to Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry, the historic structure could have been engulfed in flames in a "matter of seconds" if the woman hadn't been stopped.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A woman is under arrest in Atlanta after allegedly trying to set fire to the birth home of late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with two off-duty New York City police officers reportedly jumping on her and holding her down until the Atlanta police arrived at the scene.
martin luther king jr., landmark, atlanta, arsonist, arrest, nypd officers
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2023-39-08
Friday, 08 December 2023 09:39 AM
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