$25K reward offered amid arson investigation at youth center

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Officials are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of whoever is responsible for a suspicious fire at a youth center on Atlanta’s Westside.

An arson investigation was launched last week after someone broke a window at the back of the At-Promise Center and tossed in four Molotov cocktails and an incendiary device, Crime Stoppers Atlanta said in a Facebook post. Surveillance video showed two people in dark clothing in the immediate area at the time of the incident.

Credit: Atlanta Fire Rescue

Credit: Atlanta Fire Rescue

Fire officials said Friday morning’s blaze was contained to a small office and quickly extinguished. No injuries were reported.

“The building was empty at the time of the attack. On any given day, however, there are as many as 100 youth in the facility,” the post said.

ExploreAuthorities investigate ‘suspicious fire’ at Atlanta youth center

The people seen in the surveillance footage arrived and left the area in a white vehicle, authorities said.

The At-Promise Center offers diversion and development programs for Atlanta’s at-risk youth. The facility, which opened five years ago, is managed by the Atlanta Police Foundation and is one of three such centers across the city.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Atlanta Fire Rescue is heading the arson investigation with the assistance of Atlanta police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the GBI.

The post cited ongoing protests over the city’s new Public Safety Training Center in neighboring DeKalb County.

Explore7 arrested at site of Atlanta’s proposed police training center

Seven people were arrested at the site in mid-May when protesters tossed two Molotov cocktails at officers looking to clear the forested land, according to authorities, who believe the two incidents could be linked.

“We had two individuals that delivered a device in that facility that started a fire,” Atlanta’s interim police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters Tuesday morning. He praised the youth center’s mission and strongly condemned the arson, saying, “I don’t know what kind of person does that.”

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

He urged anyone with information to contact investigators and said officials look forward to identifying and arresting those responsible.

Anyone with information about Friday’s fire is asked to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, text information to 274637 or submit tips to the Crime Stoppers website. Tipsters can remain anonymous and still be eligible for the cash reward.