2 retired NYPD cops pursue, detain woman who tried to burn down MLK’s house
“You’re police, no matter how long you’ve been gone and I’ve been gone for some time,” Kenneth Dodson said
By Joanna Putman
ATLANTA — Two brothers, who are also retired NYPD officers, worked alongside other bystanders to stop a woman from lighting Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home on fire, the New York Daily News reported.
Brothers Axel and Kenneth Dodson had just arrived at the house when they saw a man and a woman fighting, according to the report. The man, now known to be Zachary Kempf, was trying to prevent the woman, Laneisha Shantrice Henderson, from igniting the gasoline she had just poured on the house.
Kempf called the Dodson brothers for help, at which point Henderson ran away down the street.
“Right away, my brother looks at me and he goes, ‘What do you think? Should we chase her?’” Kenneth told the New York Daily News. “I said, ‘I’m not chasing anybody. I’ll get in the car and [go] after her.”
We always preach in NYC, “if you see something, say something” and our retired officers did exactly that and stopped an individual from setting the historic birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta on fire!— Tania Kinsella (@NYPD1stDep) December 9, 2023
We are extremely proud of our officers for their dedication! pic.twitter.com/NplhwvLofl
The brothers pursued Henderson, finding her in an alley. They grabbed Henderson and took her back to the scene, holding her there until Atlanta police arrived to take her into custody.
“You’re police, no matter how long you’ve been gone and I’ve been gone for some time,” Kenneth said. “Your policing kicks in and I wanted to keep my eye on [Axel].”
The motivation for the attempted arson was unclear, according to the report. Henderson was charged with attempted arson and interference with government property.
The brothers were honored with outstanding citizen awards at NYPD headquarters on Dec. 9.
“I’m glad that we were all there,” Axel told the Daily News. “That we were able to come and stop this from happening.”