The woman had poured gasoline onto the property, police said. She was charged with criminal attempt to commit arson in the second degree and interference with government property.
Video taken by a bystander and shared with media outlets showed a woman dressed in all black pouring gasoline onto the home’s front porch and into bushes.
The home is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta. It was purchased by King’s grandfather in 1909 for $3,500 and King was born there on Jan. 15, 1929. In recent weeks, the birth home was closed for major renovations expected to take at least two years.
Late Thursday, the King Center released a statement on the incident.
“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,” the center said. “Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, thanks to the brave intervention of good samaritans and the quick response of law enforcement.
The King Center released a statement regarding the recent attempt to set fire to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth home pic.twitter.com/q499vpzTji
— The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center (@TheKingCenter) December 8, 2023
“We thank the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Department, the National Parks Service, and Mayor Andre Dickens for leading the efforts to ensure the safety of our cherished national landmark and its adjacent neighbors, “ the center said. “Our prayers are with the individual who allegedly committed this criminal act.”
The incident remained under investigation late Thursday.
— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates