Atlanta, Georgia – A woman has been arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, for allegedly trying to set fire to the childhood home of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. The 128-year-old house, a federal landmark, holds significant historical value as King’s birthplace and where he spent his first 12 years. Thankfully, two bystanders intervened, preventing the woman from carrying out her destructive plans.
According to reports, the 26-year-old suspect poured gasoline on the porch of the home before she was stopped by the two courageous bystanders. A video captured at the scene shows the woman pouring liquid from a red canister, prompting one witness to question her actions. The suspect, however, responded incoherently, leaving her intentions unclear. Zach Kempf, who filmed the incident, shared that he prevented the woman from igniting the fire by blocking her for a minute.
After encountering resistance, the woman left the porch but was later apprehended by two off-duty police officers from New York, who happened to be visiting the historic home. Local law enforcement then responded to the incident, during which the woman’s distressed relatives arrived at the scene.
Reports suggest that the suspect’s family had been actively searching for her using her phone’s GPS signal. They disclosed that she is a military veteran struggling with mental health issues. Despite the family’s concerns, it is a relief that no harm came to the significant historical site. Kempf expressed his relief for the home’s safety but also expressed concern for the woman’s well-being.
Atlanta’s police chief, Darin Schierbaum, commended the actions of the bystanders who intervened, acknowledging that their quick response saved a cherished piece of the city’s history. The King Center, a memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., released a statement conveying gratitude for the bravery of the individuals who prevented the suspected arson attack.
Recent reports indicate that the woman has been charged with second-degree arson and interfering with government property. Police authorities in Atlanta continue to investigate the incident. Thanks to the swift intervention of those involved, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home remains unharmed.