Arrest Made In Fire At Buffalo Area Firemans Home

08.05.16 | Bob Price

North Tonawanda Police announce the arrest of Matthew Jurado in the fire at the apartment of a fireman who was the target of a racial attack this week.  Jurado is charged with arson in connection with the fire at the apartment home of North Tonawanda volunteer fireman Ken Walker.  Walker received a racially-motivated threat earlier this week.

Jurado, a neighbor of Walker,  did not admit his actions were racially motivated nor to the threatening letter sent to Walker and said his actions stemmed from his removal from another fire company due to lack of training. Jurado is due in court to answer to the charges Friday morning.

Walker, the only African-American member of the Gratwick Fire Company, told officials he found the letter threatening him to resign his post Monday.

"When I found it, at first I thought it was somebody trying to play some sick joke, I wasn't really going to say anything about it," Walker said. "Given  everything that's been going on in the news with police shootings and unarmed African-Americans getting killed for whatever reasons, I felt that it needed to be taken seriously."

The note used the "N" word and gave Walker until the end of the week to resign or "you will regret it."

"I was actually sickened by the letter," said Bob Brennan, President of the Gratwick Hose Company. "It made me physically ill to think that somebody would write something like that to a volunteer, a man who is dedicating his time and effort away from his family, in addition to a full time job, to serve the citizens of North Tonawanda." 

The North Tonawanda Police have the letter and the FBI is apparently also involved, Brennan says.