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Woman arrested for trying to burn down Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home

Video shot by a witness and broadcast by local television stations shows a young woman dressed in black pants, a black shirt and a black knit cap holding a large red gas canister standing on the front porch of the house and dousing the home with a liquid.

Atlanta police have arrested a woman who they said tried to burn down the birthplace of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Update: 2:20 p.m. ET Dec. 8: Police have released the name of the woman arrested for pouring gasoline on the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. Laneisha Shantrice Henderson, 26, was arrested and charged with criminal attempt arson and criminal attempt interference with government property.

Original story: According to The Associated Press, officers arrested the 26-year-old woman around 5:45 p.m. Thursday after responding to a report of vandalism in process at the two-story home in the historic Auburn Avenue Historic District, according to a police statement.

Police say it appears the woman had poured gasoline on the property before people at the site stopped her, according to WSB-TV.

Video shot by a witness and broadcast by local television stations shows a young woman dressed in black pants, a black shirt and a black knit cap holding a large red gas canister standing on the front porch of the house and dousing the home with a liquid.

Tourists visiting Atlanta from Utah saw what was happening when they stopped by to see the historic home, according to the AP. They asked her what she was doing and then, when she picked up a lighter, Zach Kempf said he blocked her from going back up the stairs onto the porch. Then two other people detained the woman until police arrived.

The woman’s name has not been released.

“It was a little scary there for a minute because we didn’t know who she was,” Kempf told WSB-TV. “We didn’t know if she had weapons on her, we didn’t know anything.”

The woman is charged with second-degree attempted arson and interference with government property. The historic site is operated by the National Park Service.

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