Three teenage boys in Denver are facing multiple charges including murder and arson in connection to a house fire that took the lives of a family of five Senegalese immigrants including two children.
According to Reuters, two of the suspects, Kevin Bui and Gavin Seymour, will be tried as adults as they are both 16. They are facing 60 counts of murder, arson, conspiracy, attempted murder, and other related charges. The third unidentified suspect, a 15-year-old who will be tried as a juvenile because of his age, also faces similar charges, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement. McCann, however, said prosecutors will appeal for him to also be tried as an adult.
Following the fatal August 5 incident, the Denver Police Department said the fire that gutted the two-story home was deliberately started. The arson took the lives of Djibril Diol, his wife Adja, their 3-year-old daughter, Kadidia; Djibril’s sister Hassan, and her baby daughter, Hawa Beye. Three other people who were upstairs when the fire started managed to escape. An officer who tried rescuing the trapped victims in the lower part of the house was pushed back as a result of the intense heat from the fire.
Djibril was described as a young man who “cared for his family” and had a “promising future in Civil Engineering.” A neighbor also told KDVR the family was very “quiet” and “honest” and “never had any problems” with anyone.
The incident sent shock waves within the Senegalese community in Denver, as they feared the attack may have been carried out because of the family’s Muslim background and status as immigrants, Reuters reported. The police have, however, not revealed the motive behind the attack. The arrest warrant affidavits for the suspects also remain undisclosed.
After the suspects were arrested, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said investigations did not find any evidence to determine whether the crime was “bias-motivated.” Another woman said to be related to Kevin Bui was also arrested when federal agents were executing a search warrant at a Jefferson County residence. The arrest warrant affidavit stated authorities found drugs and a handgun at the home in question.
The female suspect, Tanya Bui, is facing federal charges of marijuana possession with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm for the purpose of drug trafficking, prosecutors stated, according to Reuters. She has, however, not been charged in connection to the fatal arson.