Police are looking for three masked arsonists who they believe burned down a house in Denver, Colorado earlier this month, killing a Senegalese family. Husband and wife Djibril Adja Diol, their 3-year-old daughter, Khadija, and Djibril’s sister Hassan and her infant daughter, Hawa Baye, all tragically perished in the fire.
Authorities have now released a photo of the suspects, which shows three people wearing hoodies and white face masks. They reportedly fled the scene of the house fire in a four-door sedan. Denver police are asking anyone with an information to come forward. The incident is being investigated as an arson crime.
“We need to find these individuals, or individual, and we have to be able to hold them accountable for what they did on that day,” Denver Police Chief Joe Montoya said during an Aug. 7 news conference. “We owe this to that family. We owe this to the Senegalese community, and we owe it to the country of Senegal.”
The Diol family was reportedly very involved in the Senegalese community in Denver. Some local residents have called for the house fire to be investigated as a hate crime, as Papa Dia — the founder of the African Leadership Group in Denver — said other Senegalese and African immigrants are living in fear in the area.
“We consider ourselves part of this society, part of this great nation we call home,” Dia said. “This is a time we don’t want to feel alone. This is a time we want the U.S. born citizens to embrace us.”
Likewise, the Colorado chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations also called for the crime to be investigated as a possible act of racial bias earlier this month.
“Because the family members who perished in this tragedy are members of minority and immigrant communities, it would only be prudent to investigate the possibility of a bias motive,” Acting Board Chair for CAIR-Colorado Krista Cole said.
Police have said that they don’t have enough information yet to determine whether the fire was racially-motivated, but they are examining “every possible angle.”
Denver Crime Stoppers is currently offering a $14,000 reward for anybody with information regarding the case. See the photo of the masked suspects below and find the GoFundMe campaign — raising money to transport the family’s bodies back to Senegal — here.