Wagswoofs – On Thursday, a woman was apprehended for her attempt to set fire to Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home in Atlanta. She had doused the house with gasoline before being caught. This incident was captured in a video recorded by Zachary Eugene Kempf and shared on Storyful.
A woman from Florida, who was caught on video casually pouring gasoline on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home in Atlanta before allegedly trying to set it on fire, has been identified and charged.
Laneisha Shantrice Henderson, a 26-year-old woman, faces charges of attempted arson and interfering with government property. The incident occurred on Thursday at approximately 5:45 p.m. when surveillance footage captured Henderson pouring a flammable liquid from a large red fuel container onto the porch of a historic wooden property.
The woman, dressed in all-black clothing, can be seen in the footage pouring liquid on plants and emptying it against the windows of the Auburn Avenue house. This location is just blocks away from the King Center, King National Historical Park, and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Two tourists stopped her in her tracks, and she was apprehended by two off-duty NYPD cops until Atlanta police arrived on the scene and arrested her.
The woman, who is believed to have mental health challenges, was taken to Grady Detention Center for assessment and later moved to Fulton County Jail, according to authorities.
The motive behind her intention to burn down the building remains unclear. Additionally, Fox 5 reports that she may also be subject to federal charges related to the incident.
Zachary Eugene Kempf, a resident of Utah, captured a disturbing video that showcased the events of the incident. Kempf, who happened to be one of the two tourists who intervened, had traveled to Atlanta for work purposes but decided to visit the house. It was during this visit that he witnessed the woman pouring gasoline around the premises and promptly started recording the footage.
According to Kempf, when speaking to Fox 5, he mentioned that she appeared slightly agitated and tense.
As Henderson descended the porch steps, Kempf recalled instructing her to halt, subsequently obstructing her repeated endeavors to ascend once more.
“He told Storyful that although she never displayed any violent or aggressive behavior towards him, she persistently attempted to get past him while he continuously blocked her.”
When asked about her activities, Henderson did not respond, according to Kempf.
According to The New York Times, Henderson disposed of the empty canister by throwing it into the bushes. He then retrieved a lighter that he had left on the grass near the porch before proceeding to call 911.
Kempf called out for assistance to two men further down the street. As luck would have it, these individuals were off-duty NYPD officers, who promptly detained Henderson until Atlanta Police officers arrived at the scene. It’s worth noting that the NYPD cops were visiting the landmark during their time in town.
In the video, one of the NYPD cops can be seen holding Henderson down on the ground, with her hands secured behind her back. She is then accompanied by Atlanta police officers, appearing somber and choosing not to speak.
According to the Times, Kempf mentioned that Henderson’s family had also arrived at the scene and expressed their concern as they had been searching for her. Her relatives described her as a veteran who was going through a difficult time mentally.
According to Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry DeBerry, the home had the potential to catch fire within seconds of the fuel being poured. The fire department’s HAZMAT team promptly took action to clean up the gasoline on the property.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home is located in Atlanta.
The police have seized a Chevrolet sedan, which is believed to belong to the woman.
The home is currently undergoing renovations and will not be open to visitors until 2025.
King’s birth home is a charming two-story Queen Anne-style building that was constructed in 1895. This historic structure holds immense significance as it symbolizes the early years of the renowned civil rights leader and his siblings.