FBI probing fire, slur at Black Indiana councilman’s home

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A fire that badly damaged a Black city council member’s home in eastern Indiana is being investigated by the FBI after a racial slur was found spray painted at the house.

The fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. Friday at the home of Connersville City Councilman Tommy Williams, who is Black, while his wife said the couple and their two sons were away on vacation.

The racial slur was painted on the back patio and FBI agents spent Saturday at the house, Emma Williams said.

FBI Special Agent Steve Secor confirmed Monday that the agency was working with state and local authorities investigating the fire in the 13,000-person city about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) east of Indianapolis. Secor said no suspects had been immediately identified.

Williams said she had no idea who would attack her family in this way and she she was forgiving whoever is responsible.

“I’m grateful for our community,” Williams told WXIN-TV. “We have really good people here, and I don’t want this to be a message that represents our village here because it’s a lie. It’s not what we’re about here.”

Tommy Williams, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker and Army veteran, was elected by a Republican caucus last year to fill a city council vacancy.

An online fundraiser had collected more than $30,000 on Monday to assist the family’s recovery.

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