A pair of lawn signs, including one recognizing that “Black lives matter,” may have played a role in why a Wading River family was targeted in a Molotov cocktail attack that caused a fire outside their home Monday night.
The small fire was quickly extinguished through the actions of a 12-year-old resident of the Sound Road house who was in the next room over when the flaming bottle struck and cracked a double-paned dining room window, his mother said.
“We don’t know who did it and we don’t know why someone would do this to us,” said Lisa Heim-Zeller, who said her youngest son and mother were both in the house when it was struck by the incendiary device. “We’re really shocked and confused by it.”
Ms. Heim-Zeller, who has lived in the house for 17 years and said she’s never had an issue with neighbors, stressed that she was unsure why the family was attacked. She believes the signs could have played a role and said police agreed. She wasn’t aware of any other reason the family may have been targeted.
The two signs preached inclusivity, with one recognizing fair treatment of women and minority groups and the other calling for people to love their neighbors no matter their differences.
Ms. Heim-Zeller said she had not received any complaints about the signs, only casual positive remarks, but she took them down Tuesday over concerns for her family’s safety. She said the attack, which occurred about 8 p.m. Monday, would not change her family’s beliefs.
An off-duty NYPD officer assisted the boy and his grandmother at the scene of the fire and a Riverhead Town police officer quickly responded, Ms. Heim-Zeller said. She added that a police officer may have spotted someone running away from the area toward the duck ponds, but a search of the area was unsuccessful.
Town police said in a press release that the Suffolk County Police Arson Squad is assisting in the investigation.
In addition to the cracked bay window, a window frame was burned and some other minor burn marks were visible in the surrounding area.