ATLANTA — The sister-in-law of a civil rights icon was violently attacked outside her retirement home Friday.
Someone attacked Naomi King as she tried to enter her retirement community in southwest Atlanta. She's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister-in-law and a civil rights leader herself.
With him, Naomi King supported the civil rights movement and even lived through her home being bombed.
But Friday, witnesses told Channel 2's Carl Willis she was attacked by a petty thief.
"He demanded her car and told her he was going to bust her in her mouth," said friend Lena Reid Morrow.
Morrow said King refused to hand over her car.
"Before she could say anything, he had hit her in the mouth and was looking to see where her purse was in the car. But he could not see that, so he turned and hit her again and by this time she was screaming," Morrow said.
Police say the young male came from a wooded area nearby.
They say he disappeared back through the trail that leads to three different communities.
Now, some residents say they are scared to leave the property.
"I like to get my exercise. I should be able to walk through here without getting accosted," said resident Marie White.
"We're like sitting ducks," said Morrow.
Especially at the call box. Morrow says two to three hours before King was attacked, a young male tried to take another woman's car.
Residents in Big Bethel Village received notices that security would be provided for the night.
"But what happens to us the rest of the nights?" Morrow said.
They're urging their management, National Church Residency, to hear their pleas for permanent security in the wake of such a troubling attack.
"They didn't know who she was but I've been waiting for this to happen, waiting for it to get even worse," said resident Virginia Mohamed.
Naomi King released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
"My family, Dr. Babs Onabanjo President of ADKF, and other close friends deeply appreciate your prayers and support. If my beloved AD, my "Boaz" were here, he would encourage us to seek justice rather than revenge. Not an eye for an eye or a fist for a fist.
Yes, there must be justice for this tragic attack. Yet we must seek solutions and opportunities for our youth so that others don't choose this hopeless path that my attacker sought. This is the mission of the AD King foundation founded in my husband's honor.
We must care for the young, the sick, the elderly and downtrodden. This is the loving message of Jesus.
In thinking of yesterday, in a way at least what happened to me brings attention those who need a voice. Now we must act.
Again thank you for your prayers. Let us now move forward to build a better community; a better world."