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Woman arrested for allegedly attempting to burn down Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home

The suspect has been charged with criminal attempt arson and criminal attempt interference with government property.

Published: December 8, 2023 10:23am

Updated: December 8, 2023 10:24am

A woman has been arrested in Atlanta for allegedly attempting to burn down civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home.

The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement the suspect poured gasoline on the porch of King's birth home and was stopped by two officers who were off duty. 

“That action saved an important part of American history tonight,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told local media

The suspect is 26-year-old Laneisha Shantrice Henderson who has been charged with criminal attempt arson and criminal attempt interference with government property.

Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry said the house would have burned to the ground had officers not stopped the suspect.

Henderson could face additional federal charges since the house is federal property, according to The Hill.

“Tonight, an unfortunate incident occurred at the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an individual attempted to set fire to this historic property,” the King Center said. “Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement.” 

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