Suspicious fires may be linked to homicides, activists say

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CHICAGO -- Community leaders say they are concerned about what appears to be a recent increase in suspicious fires, possibly started to conceal homicides.

On Friday night crews responding to a burning vehicle near 21st and Jefferson made a horrific discovery inside: a body burned beyond recognition. This comes after seven arsons happened in Pilsen in the early hours of September 16, leaving one person dead and dozens homeless.

On September 2 in Little Village, two people were found dead in a burning car at 31st and Harding. And a week ago, police discovered the burned body of 15 year old Demetrius Griffin Junior in an alley in South Austin.

Members of the organization United Legion One Nation (ULON) met with gang leaders to discuss the issue, though they say it’s unclear who is responsible and whether there’s a larger connection.

“We hope this is not a trend we hope that we can nip this in the bud right now trying to get justice served...we're out here,” said ULON’s Pete "Esaun" Keller.

Community activists are concerned about the apparent rise in suspicious fires, and say it has to stop. They went door-to-door in Pilsen Saturday afternoon to get the word out about the fires.

"This is about the worst and the lowest of the low that you can do to a human is to set a human's body on fire," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

The age, gender, and identify of the latest burned body has not been released. The investigation is ongoing.


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