Woman Charged After Attempting to Burn Down Martin Luther King Jr.’s Childhood Home

The woman was initially detained by off-duty NYPD officers before Atlanta police arrested her.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A woman was arrested after attempting to light Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home on fire.

The Hill reports that the incident took place on Thursday in Atlanta when the woman poured gasoline on the front porch and bushes. She was subsequently detained by two off-duty cops from the New York Police Department who just so happened to be visiting the house, along with two tourists from Utah.

“That action saved an important part of American history tonight,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said, per The Hill.

Atlanta officers soon arrived at the scene to apprehend the woman, who Fox 5 identified as 26-year-old Laneisha Henderson. 

Twitter: @KeneAkers

“It could have been a matter of seconds before the house was engulfed in flames,” Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry said.

Henderson has since been charged with attempted arson and could face additional federal charges since the home is federal property and part of a national historic park.

The King Center also issued a statement on X: “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. Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good Samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement.” 

Twitter: @TheKingCenter

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