Highland Park family's house firebombed days after back door set on fire, police say

Police believe someone is trying to kill family

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Police believe someone is trying to kill a Highland Park family whose house was firebombed days after the back door was set on fire.

Anisha Sawyer said she wants to know why someone would go to such lengths to burn down her family's house.

Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, the family's back door was set on fire, and they heard a loud explosion. Sawyer's husband was able to put out the flames with only minor damage to the house.

"He saw smoke and he was just like, 'Babe, water. I need water,'" Sawyer said.

The family's home was targeted twice in one week, police said. (WDIV)

Police said the family's home was targeted again Thursday morning. Someone firebombed the house, and the only way out for the couple and their three children was to jump from an upstairs bedroom window.

"I slapped my husband and said, 'Fire,'" Sawyer said. "He woke up and said, 'Kids.' We jumped out of that window and we landed right here on the porch."

Investigators said they could smell gasoline when they investigated the Tuesday incident.

The family has lived at the home on Pilgram Street for five years without a problem, but now the house is destroyed.

The Sawyers are Muslim and said there are many other Muslim families in the area, and their religion has never come up. They're wondering who would target them and why.

"It's pretty scary to actually look at it and know what happened or what could have happened," Sawyer said.

The Red Cross is helping the family, and the Highland Park fire chief is trying to help by getting clothes for the children.

The Sawyers said they're staying with family members and lying low because they don't know who's targeting them.

Police and firefighters are working on the case. They had a meeting Friday afternoon to compare notes.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.