DENVER — Three teens have been arrested in connection to a Denver house fire that killed five people — including two children — who recently immigrated from Senegal, police said Wednesday.
The male suspects — a 15-year-old and two 16-year-olds — could face charges of first-degree murder, burglary, assault and arson, according to Chief Paul Pazen of the Denver Police Department.
“Our homicide team, along with our partners at the ATF, U.S. Secret Service, and the Denver Fire Department, worked tirelessly to identify those responsible for this horrible crime, and we thank those who supported the family and the Senegalese community,” Pazen said.
Djibril Diol, his wife Adja Diol, and their 22-month-old daughter Khadija died in the blaze from last August, New York Post reported.
Relative Hassan Diol and her infant daughter Hawa Baye also perished in the fire.
“While we are saddened, we are also thankful that those who allegedly committed this crime were brought to justice and placed in custody,” Pazen said.
— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) January 27, 2021
All three suspects were taken into custody in the neighboring Jefferson County, police said.
The fire devastated Colorado’s Senegalese community. Some feared the family may have been targeted because they were Muslim immigrants from the West African nation, Fox News reported.
#DenverFireDepartment responded to 5312 N. Truckee & found a heavily involved fire. Unfortunately 5 fatalities were found in the home. Fire Investigators are working to determine cause with @DenverPolice.
A Press Conference is scheduled at 7am at that address @CityofDenver pic.twitter.com/Vhsf2rzCWQ
— Denver Fire Dept. (@Denver_Fire) August 5, 2020
However, the arson-homicide investigation is ongoing. Pazen said it does not appear the crime was motivated by bias.
A spokesperson for the victims, Papa Dia, reacted to the arrests, saying “We are grateful, but we are still in pain. … Arrest has been made, but we know it’s not going to bring these beautiful people back.”