Early Wednesday morning, the $3.5 million home of Ronald and Malissia Clinton was firebombed.
A tire filled with gasoline was ignited and blew out the front of their house at 2:30am. The sound of the explosions woke Ronald up, and he quickly got his three children and dog out of the home. He then used the garden hose to help fight the flame until firefighters arrived on the scene.
Mr. Clinton says that although he has no proof, he believes that this is a hate crime. The Clintons are a part of a small black minority in a Manhattan Beach community that is 84 percent white. They are said to be the only black family living on their street.
“And I tell you — my gut tells me this was racially motivated. And it was somebody that had the intent to harm, injure or even kill us,” Mr. Clinton said to My Fox LA. “I just know there is no other reason to target us. We have no enemies. Why us?” the pharmacist added in The Daily Breeze.
Fire Chief Robert Espinosa says it’s too early in the investigation to determine if race was a motivating factor in the crime or not. “We are looking at every potential motive,” Espinosa said.
However, Mrs. Clinton, who is a corporate lawyer and was away at the time of the attack, seemed frustrated by law enforcement’s reluctance to label it a hate crime.
“Our position is someone tried to take out our family and it’s a hate crime until we have evidence to the contrary. It goes against my very nature to bring attention to personal matters. But we have no choice because the next incident could be worse. We need public support to help find out who did this,” she said in an email to friends and news outlets.
The house sustained $200,000 worth of damages. The Clintons have lived in the community for over a decade, but after the attack, they thought of cutting their losses and moving. ‘The first thing Ron said is, ‘Maybe we gotta move’,” Mrs. Clinton said.
However, after seeing the level of support from the Manhattan Beach community, the couple decided to stay. On Friday evening, hundreds gathered in a vigil carrying candles to show their support for the family. The Clintons were amazed at the turnout.
‘This is not what our community is all about, and we’re going to get the person who did this,’ Manhattan Beach Mayor Wayne Powell said to ABC 7.
An investigation into the attack is ongoing, and the FBI has offered assistance.