BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – Brentwood Police continue to investigate an arson incident at the home of a Black family that happened around 3 am September 12 on Brunswick Drive.
Monday, Brentwood Police updated its investigation releasing a statement that included the following:
“While we do not know the motive or the intent at this time, we acknowledge that this could be racially motivated and are investigating with this possibility in mind.”
A woman in her late forties who lives in the house spoke to News 2 on the condition of anonymity.
The woman told News 2, the morning of the disturbance, she and her husband and her 77-year-old father were in the residence.
“You know we are really friendly people. We have no enemies. Our initial thought was not something malicious.”
The woman said she awoke to the smell of smoke. She and her husband raced around the house looking for fire.
She said her husband looked out the front window and they saw flames leaping in front of the glass, eight to nine feet high.
They were shocked by the sight, the woman said. She added they have a fire extinguisher, but they were running in circles, panicking, eventually trying to extinguish the blaze with buckets filled with water.
The woman said the fire department quickly arrived and determined that landscape lighting in the front bed was not the cause of the fire.
Police have released surveillance footage from that morning. It shows a spark, then what Brentwood Police now say is some type of firework flying toward the home.
There is bright light when the firework hits the front shrubs, then it extinguishes.
Police said there was no explosion or sign of an accelerant.
Investigators report that firework smoldered for about an hour, then caught dry grass and bushes on fire.
Those bushes were very close to the home, which luckily suffered no serious damage.
The woman said she and her husband were shocked when they saw the video. “I don’t even have words. We were just numb. Like we rewound it a few times. We couldn’t believe it. My husband was shaking. My heart was racing. I had to stay seated for a moment.”
On Monday, police released another possible clue. It is a video showing a white vehicle of interest in the area around the time of the arson.
Police hope someone recognizes the vehicle and calls with a tip.
When asked if she believes she was targeted because she is Black, the woman responded this way.
“You’d hate to think that. We have no enemies. We have lived here many years. But it is what we automatically feel.”
The woman said she is pleased by the response exhibited by Brentwood Police.
“They were immediately on the scene. We are one of a few minority families in the community. We have had a huge outpouring of support from our neighbors and the community as a whole. It is 2020. Are there people out there, who because of the color of my skin, want to burn my house down while I am sleeping?”
When asked if this could be a stupid prank, the woman said, “you can throw toilet paper in a yard, and ding doorbells, but you are more than just an idiot when you light something on fire and introduce fire into the equation. There is no excuse for this violent behavior.”
If you recognize that vehicle of interest or you have any information you are urged to contact the Brentwood Police at 615-371-0160 or Crime Stoppers of Williamson County at 615-794-4000.