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Retired NYPD officers honored for preventing fire from being set at MLK's home

The retired officers who are also brothers received NYPD awards for being outstanding citizens.

News 12 Staff

Dec 10, 2023, 5:00 AM

Updated 222 days ago

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Two retired NYPD officers were honored Saturday for stopping a woman who police say was going to start a fire at the home where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born.
Axel Dodson, who lives on Long Island, and his brother, Kenneth received NYPD awards for being outstanding citizens.
"It was surreal," Dodson recalled. "I'm glad that we were able to stop a catastrophe from happening."
Dodson said he and his brother were in Atlanta visiting their father and sightseeing, when their stop at MLK's birth home did not go as planned.
"As we were approaching, we see a guy kind of tussling around with a woman, not sure exactly if they know each other or whatever, and caught the tail end of her dumping gasoline on the home," Dodson said. "My brother and I looked at each other and decided, 'You know what? Let's go get her.'"
Dodson said he and his brother chased the woman when she ran away.
"We didn't have any handcuffs, so we basically just held her arms behind her back and brought her back to the scene," he said.
Police later arrested the woman.
Atlanta's police chief praised the quick actions of the brothers and the other good Samaritans who assisted in apprehending the woman. The chief said they saved a jewel of the city.
"It wasn't just me and my brother. It was also those two other gentlemen who initially spotted, you know, intervened, so I would say it was a joint effort with all of us," Dodson said. "Definitely glad that we were there."
According to Atlanta fire officials, the woman also picked up a lighter after pouring the gasoline.
The National Park Service said there does not appear to be any permanent damage to the house.


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