Off-Duty NYPD Cops Stop Arson Attempt at MLK Birthplace in Atlanta

Two off-duty NYPD officers are credited with helping stop a woman who was trying to set fire to the Martin Luther King Jr. birthplace in downtown Atlanta. Two tourists intervened, and then the officers detained the woman until Atlanta officers arrived.

Two off-duty New York City police officers visiting Georgia thwarted a woman’s attempt Thursday to set fire to the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., a historic site in downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta Police Chief Darrin Shierbaum described the home as a “jewel of the city” and told FOX5 that two tourists from Utah noticed the woman dousing the plants, porch, and front door of the home with what smelled like gasoline. Those tourists stepped in to stop the woman as she was trying to ignite a lighter.

The two NYPD officers were nearby and quickly responded to detain the woman.

Video shared with the Atlanta television station shows the woman using what appears to be a gas can as she dumps the suspected gasoline onto the home. That same video shows the NYPD officers detaining the suspect until Atlanta officers arrived.

Laneisha Shantrice Henderson, 26, was arrested and charged with arson in the 2nd degree and interfering with government property.

"Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful thanks to the brave intervention of Good Samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement. Our prayers are with the individual who allegedly committed this criminal act,” a statement from the King Center said.

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