The three people in dark hoodies and full-face masks look like characters in a scary movie. One of them peers directly at the camera with eyes resembling black sockets from what appears to be night vision footage.
Denver authorities say the image shows the suspects who set a two-story house ablaze in Denver on August 5 and fled the area in a four-door dark sedan. The blaze tore through the home, killing two children and three adults. Three others survived after jumping from the second floor.
The five killed were all members of one Senegalese family, Denver Police said. They were Djibril and Adja Diol and their 3-year-old daughter, along with Hassan Diol and her infant daughter. Djibril Diol, who was an engineer and the brother of Hassan Diol, recently relocated his wife from Senegal, CNN affiliate KDVR reported.
“They never really came out of their house. The only time they came out they were just really quiet. They never had any problems. They were just very honest, true neighbors,” Jordan Sims told the affiliate.
Investigators offer a $14K reward for information
Authorities determined early on that it was intentionally set and started a homicide investigation, said Joe Montoya, division chief for investigations at the Denver Police Department.
Asked what made the police think the fire was deliberate, Montoya said, “I cannot get into the details right now. We are relying on the expertise of the Denver Fire arson investigators, the ATF and some of the evidence collected at the scene.”
The flames were so massive, they damaged two neighboring homes. An officer tried to rescue people from the home but was pushed back by the heat from the flames, said Capt. Greg Pixley of the Denver Fire Department.
Earlier this month, investigators said they’re looking at all options, including a possible hate crime.
“At this time, we don’t want to get tunnel-visioned into a motive,” Montoya said. “…We have to go into it very open-minded and look at every possible angle. And if at some point we determine it was hate-motivated or bias-motivated, then we will definitely share that with the community.”
Macky Sall, the President of the West African nation of Senegal, has said he’s closely following the investigation.
“I want the family, the local community of Senegal and the country of Senegal to know you have our full commitment and devotion to this case,” Montoya said. “We have every hope that we are going to find the individual or individuals responsible for this and bring them to justice.”
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $14,000 for information on the fire.