A fire accompanied by racial graffiti at a Brooklyn Park home early New Year's Day is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to Anne Arundel County police and fire officials.
Fire Department Lt. Cliff Kooser said the blaze at the house in the 300 block of Church Street caused an estimated $75,000 in damage, and that "it's a possibility it could be incendiary."
Kooser and police spokesman Justin Mulcahy said the graffiti was on walls and the agencies were working together to determine if it was a hate crime.
The fire was reported shortly after 4 a.m.
Korrey Tubaya, who said he operates a small assisted living home nearby and stayed in the house to help care for two women, suspects this is the second crime in just over three months aimed at him. He said he is African-American and the women, one elderly and one disabled, are white.
Tubaya said the fire is a financial blow to the women, one of whom owns the home.
"Maybe they [the perpetrators] are thinking they hurt me, but they hurt them even more," Tubaya said.
All were spending the holiday elsewhere, and can't stay at the house due to the fire, he said.
One firefighter sustained minor injuries, Kooser said.
Jacqueline Boone Allsup, president of the county's NAACP branch, said the graffiti, with its racial slurs, was "outrageous."
Police are trying to determine if the fire is connected to the Sept. 22 damage to Tubaya's car. That case remains under investigation, Mulcahy said.
Tubaya said he woke up one September morning to find the windshield smashed, interior and tires slashed, and racial graffiti scratched into the car's finish.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun