DENVER (CBS4) — Denver police have arrested three teenagers in the house fire that killed three adults and two children in Green Valley Ranch last summer. Two of the suspects are 16 years old and one is 15 years old. They are facing murder, arson and burglary charges.
A source tells CBS4’s Rick Sallinger that an adult sister of one of the teen suspects is also in custody. Investigators would not confirm that information.READ MORE: Park Hill Residents File Lawsuit Against Safe Outdoor Space For Homeless In Church Parking Lot
The house fire on Aug. 5, 2020, killed Djibril Diol, his wife Adja, and their 2-year-old daughter.
Hassan Diol and her infant daughter Hawa Baye were also killed in the fire.
Three people escaped by jumping from windows.
Investigators said the suspects, wearing full face masks and dark hoodies, took off in a dark-colored sedan after the fire was set.
It is unclear whether those in the surveillance images are those juveniles who have been arrested.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined investigators at Wednesday’s news conference.
“This was one of the most heinous crimes I’ve ever seen or witnessed in our city, as mayor or otherwise,” Hancock stated.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said there is no evidence that this was a bias-motivated crime.READ MORE: Busy Friday Night In Downtown Denver Could Signal Trend Toward Post-Pandemic Life
“While we are saddened, we are also thankful that those who allegedly committed this crime were brought to justice and placed in custody,” said Pazen.
“This crime happened in isolation and does not reflect the great state of Colorado,” Papa Dia, a family friend and community leader, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Our message is, let’s embrace one another. Let’s love each other. Let’s not let horrific crime like this define who we are as a nation, and who we could be as a state,” Dia said.
On Wednesday, more than a dozen bouquets of flowers were left on the fence that still surrounds the burned home.
“We really appreciate everybody, and we look forward to get punishment for the people who did this to our family,” said Moussa Diol.
Police said the suspects were arrested Wednesday morning in Jefferson County, one was taken into custody without incident near C-470 and Kipling. The Jefferson County Regional SWAT team assisted Denver with the arrests.
“It’s a good starting point and we look forward to find out the motive because we don’t know yet,” said Dia.
There was speculation that the arson might be a hate crime, but investigators say now that burglary is among the charges. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the arson investigation.
The suspects are currently being held for investigation of five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of murder in the first degree with extreme indifference, three counts of criminal attempt murder in the first degree with extreme indifference, two counts of first-degree assault with extreme indifference, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, three counts of first-degree arson and eight counts of fourth-degree arson.MORE NEWS: Colorado's Comeback: Moviegoers Return To Regal Theatres Amid COVID Safety Protocols
It will be up to the district attorney to decide whether they will be charged as juveniles or adults. The BATF, U.S. Secret Service and Denver Fire Department were part of the investigation.