A neighbor, who’s a former firefighter and friend, was arrested in a suspicious fire of the home of Kenneth Walker, the only Black firefighter in North Tonawanda, N.Y., NBC News reported. The fire happened a few days after Walker said he received a racist and threatening letter in his mailbox that said if Walker didn’t resign from the fire company, he’d regret it. The letter also included the n-word and said that African-Americans “are not allowed to be firefighters.”
At a news press conference held on Friday, police said that the suspect Matthew Jurado, who lives across the street from Walker, admitted to the arson because he’d recently been let go from the Gratwick Hose Volunteer Fire Company. However, Jurado, 39, said that he never sent the racist letter and setting Walker’s house on fire had nothing to do with race.
“It’s sad that someone is so offended by my presence that they feel the need to burn my house down, if that indeed is what occurred,” Walker said at the same news conference.
As HELLO BEAUTIFUL previously reported, firefighters were called to put out a fire at a North Tonawanda, New York, apartment complex where Walker, his wife, and two children lived. The Walkers were not home, but two tenants who were asleep in their own apartments woke up when the smoke detector went off. Thankfully, no one was injured other than the Walkers two cats who died in the flames.
The Walkers also met with the FBI earlier this week to discuss the fire.
While the Walker family may have lost their home, they raised more than $80,000 on a A GoFundMe account set up to help them rebuild their lives, NBC noted.
We wish the Walker all the luck in the world.
And We Thought We Came So Far: The Most Racist Moments Of 2014
1. 2014’s Most Racist Moments1 of 23
2. Artie Lange’s Racist & Sexist Tweet2 of 23
3. Sephora Singles Out Asian Customers3 of 23
4. Twitter Racists Hate The “New Annie”4 of 23
5. People Magazine’s Lame HTGAWM Tweet5 of 23
6. ’12 Years A Slave’ Headlines That Hurt6 of 23
7. Fergson Protestors Labeled ‘Animals’7 of 23
8. Huffington Post’s Really Uncomfortable “Once You Go Black” List8 of 23
9. Ebola9 of 23
10. “Breathe Easy, Don’t Break The Law” Shirts10 of 23
11. Fraternity Uses Dark-Skinned Blow Up Doll As Beyonce Sex Doll11 of 23
12. New Hampshire Police Commissioner Calls Obama The N-Word12 of 23
13. Racist Halloween Costumes13 of 23
14. Richard Sherman Gets Called a ‘Thug’ By Media14 of 23
15. Watermelon Toothpaste Cartoon Featuring Obama15 of 23
16. Shonda Rhimes Labeled “Angry Black Woman” By NYT16 of 23
17. Donald Sterling’s Rant17 of 23
18. Bill O’Reilly18 of 23
19. John Boyega Responds To Racist Star Wars Fans19 of 23
20. Don Lemon Being Don Lemon20 of 23
21. New York Times Called Michael Brown ‘No Angel’21 of 23
22. Booker T. Washington Walkout22 of 23
23. Racist Stripper Goes On ‘N-Word’ Rant23 of 23