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A mother says some residents on Detroit’s east side took the law into their own hands, beating a man they suspected of setting a house on fire. Among those fired-up citizens was the beating victim’s own brother.

“It was a lot of people in and out the house all day during that whole day, so it could have been anybody who set that house on fire,” says Cynthia Boyd.

But only one man took the fall.

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Saturday afternoon the structure was just another abandoned house, a party spot for people on the block. But when someone said the roof was on fire they weren’t kidding. Someone tried to burn this house down.

Boyd tells Fox 2 her son was nearly beaten to death by neighbors and party-goers who blame him for this eyesore.

Even more wrong – one of the people accused of jumping the victim after the fire is his own brother, a painful fact this heartbroken mother couldn’t deny.


Off camera, neighbors say they are tired of people tearing down what’s left of their neighborhood. The house on Preston is just two streets over from the Heidleberg Project, an urban art installation targeted by arsonists five times in the last six months.

Many claim to have seen the fight but none admit to being involved, perhaps fearing action from police.

The victim was discharged from Detroit Receiving Hospital but has not come back home. Police say he refused to press charged so there’s nothing for them to investigate, though he may have caught the attention of arson investigators and suspicious neighbors.

The man is not under arrest and Lue reports there is no evidence that we are aware of that would prove he is the one who started this fire. Neighbors are the ones who say they heard the man say he planned to burn the house down on that day and a few hours later it was on fire.

We expect to hear more from arson investigators in the morning on how they plan to pursue this case.

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