ATLANTA — After a woman poured gasoline on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home earlier this week in what police say was an attempt to burn it down, two retired New York Police Department officers detained her until Atlanta police arrived.
Laneisha Henderson, 26, is accused of going to King’s home on Thursday evening with a can of gasoline and dousing the Auburn Avenue home. That’s when she was interrupted by two tourists from Utah.
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After they intervened, two other men, brothers and retired NYPD officers Kenneth and Axel Dodson, chased and held Henderson down until police could arrive and take her into custody.
The brothers say they had been in Atlanta visiting family and were visiting the historical landmark, placing them in the right place at the right time.
“We caught the tail end of it, so she starts walking away, she was all the way down the block, we hopped in the car and went after her, chased her in the backyard and the driveway and got her out,” Axel Dodson described.
The retired officers say when they saw what happened, their training went into action.
“Just the day before my father asked me if I miss the job, and I said ‘I do miss that adrenaline rush being out there from time to time and doing that,’ so as we were doing that, it was fun for me because I had my brother with me and to be active like that again felt good,” Kenneth Dodson said.
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Above all, they say they are happy they were there and could make a difference.
“Everybody would have been thinking, ‘Who would do this? Who would do this, light MLK’s house on fire? And for what reason?’ And really, today, we really don’t have a reason. There’s no reason to it and it would have just been gone. So, you know, by blessing we just happened to be there,” Kenneth Dodson said.
Henderson has been charged with criminal attempted arson and criminal attempt to interfere with government property. She is scheduled to make a first appearance before a Fulton County judge on Saturday.
The historic site is now a museum operated by the National Park Service, so Henderson could face further federal charges.
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