Three teenagers were arrested on Wednesday in connection with a house fire in Denver, Colo., last year that killed five family members — including two young children — from the West African country of Senegal, according to authorities.
The fire erupted in the city’s Green Valley Ranch neighborhood on Aug. 5, killing Djibril Diol, his wife Adja and their 2-year-old daughter Kadida. His sister Hassan Diol and her infant daughter, Hawa Beye also died.
Police said three others escaped by leaping from an upstairs window. 4
“We continue to express our condolences to those affected by this crime,” said Denver Police Chief Paul M. Pazen. “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.”
Authorities withheld some details, including the suspects’ names, because they are minors and have not been formally charged. They were identified as two 16-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy.
All three suspects were taken into custody in the neighboring Jefferson County, police said. They could face nearly two dozen charges, including five counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
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, reports said.
Police on Wednesday said investigators have not uncovered any evidence to suggest the crime was motivated by bias.
“Beyond the money, what I’m asking for is a heartfelt plea,” Division Police Chief Joe Montoya said at the time. “I want people to look into their hearts … and understand that this was a family that was thriving. They were heading [in] the right direction.”
Fox News’ Robert Gearty and Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report