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Police arrest woman for allegedly trying to set fire to MLK's childhood home

Police in Atlanta arrested a woman who was suspected of attempting to set fire to the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Police in Atlanta arrested a woman who was suspected of attempting to set fire to the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Authorities arrested a woman for attempting to set fire to the childhood home of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday.

The woman, identified as 26-year-old Shantrice Henderson, was charged with second-degree attempted arson and interference with government property, the Atlanta Police Department said.

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"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," a message from the King Center said. "Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good Samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement."

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said two people visiting Atlanta from Utah saw the woman allegedly pouring gasoline on the porch of the home.

"Quick action saved the jewel of our city, something very important to Atlanta," Schierbaum said.

The home, which is under the auspices of the National Park Service, had been closed since Nov. 27 for renovations and was not scheduled to be open to the public again until 2025, according to its website.

The two-story home, built in 1895, has been connected with the King family since 1926 when Martin Luther King Sr. married his wife, whose family were the original owners, giving birth to three children, including the future civil rights icon.

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