(ATLANTA) — A woman was arrested Thursday night in Atlanta, Georgia, on an arson-related charge after police say she poured gasoline on the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Atlanta Police Department said the 26-year-old, who has not been named, was arrested on criminal attempt arson in the second degree and interference with government property. The National Park Service owns the birth home of the late civil rights leader.
Atlanta police responded to a report of vandalism in progress at the MLK home around 5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday night. Police say a woman had already been detained by multiple citizens. According to police, the preliminary investigation indicated “that the suspect had poured gasoline” onto the home.
The woman was arrested on the two charges, and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.
Following the incident, the King Center thanked local authorities for intervening.
“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,” read a statement on the center’s X page. “Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement.”
The King Center statement continued: “We thank the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Department, the National Parks Service and Mayor Andre Dickens for leading the efforts to ensure the safety of our cherished national landmark and its adjacent neighbors. Our prayers are with the individual who allegedly committed this criminal act.”
King’s birth home was built in 1895. It is located at 501 Auburn Ave. NE, not far from the MLK Jr. National Historical Park and the King Center.
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