Atlanta, Georgia – Florida woman was caught on camera in what appears to be an attempt to burn down Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic home in Atlanta last week. Several bystanders stopped her, and fortunately, the historic home was not damaged. Following the incident, the woman was arrested and placed in jail.
According to the available information regarding the incident, the woman was identified by the Atlanta Police Department as Laneisha Henderson, 26, and she was immediately placed in jail and consecutively charged with second-degree arson and interference with government property. On Saturday, Henderson was denied bond and will remain in jail. The judge backed up the decision, citing Henderson’s unstable living situation and the serious nature of the charges against her, The Messenger reported.
“She gave an address in a different state. So, I find that there is a likelihood that she may not return to court,” Fulton County Magistrate Judge Holly Hughes said as reported by Fox News. “I’m extremely concerned about the randomness of this event. There does not seem to be any reason or tie to that particular location.”
The incident occurred on Thursday last week, just before 6 p.m. in Atlanta. Fortunately, several tourists and multiple other people on the scene prevented Henderson’s attempt to burn down Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic home. Two off-duty NYPD officers are credited with stopping the suspect in her tracks.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said the bystanders “saved the jewel of our city, something very important to Atlanta.” Schierbaum also confirmed that the off-duty NYPD officers held the woman at the scene until Atlanta police arrived and took over.
Bystanders caught the incident on camera, and the video was shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. From what is seen in the video, Henderson is pouring a liquid from a gas can onto the home’s front porch. Several witnesses intervened when she tried to return with a lighter. Reportedly, a tourist from Utah was the one recording the incident and sharing it on social media.
“What are you doing?” the tourist can be heard on the video as Henderson carried the can on the porch.
The building was not damaged thanks to off-duty NYPD officers’ fast reaction and the immediate response by the Atlanta police.
King’s birth home, a framed two-story Queen Anne-style structure, was built in 1895 and played a vital role in commemorating the early life of the civil rights leader and his siblings. The home is currently under renovation and closed to visitors until 2025.
BREAKING UPDATE: Woman charged with pouring gasoline, trying to burn down Martin Luther King Jr.’s Atlanta birth home, according to police.
Here’s what we know: https://t.co/4jdq6B3r8l pic.twitter.com/x7JpHQNAzK
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) December 8, 2023