Authorities in Atlanta are seeking a woman they believe may be responsible for burning down the Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed — and they believe the woman may have been Brooks' girlfriend. Natalie White is wanted not by the Atlanta Police Department, but by Atlanta Fire Investigators on suspicion of arson. So far, her connection to Brooks is not clear.
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department has issued an arrest warrant for White for first-degree arson, believing that she set the fire that burned a Wendy's to the ground. The fire came one night after police shot and killed Brooks in the parking lot of the restaurant during a DUI check. However, according to CNN, Atlanta Fire Sgt. Cortez Stafford believes more suspects may be involved. "We take arson very seriously," he said, "someone could have been injured or killed."
An arrest warrant has been issued by Atlanta Fire Investigators for Ms. Natalie White. She has been identified as a suspect in the arson fire that burned down the Wendy’s Restaurant (125 University Ave) on Saturday, June 13th. Call 404-577-TIPS or 1-800-282-5804 with any info. pic.twitter.com/Xu6W2hgOi6— Atlanta Fire Rescue (@ATLFireRescue) June 20, 2020
Sources told CNN that they are "working with the idea that a suspect was linked to Brooks" in some way. Additionally, authorities believe that White may have had a relationship with Brooks due to the body camera footage from the night he was killed. In it, Brooks mentioned White three times during his encounter with police, referring to her as his "girlfriend." He claimed that she had dropped him off at the Wendy's after they got drinks, implying that he had not driven under the influence.
So far, Brooks' wife has not commented on White, either in the body camera footage or in regards to the alleged arson. Brooks and Tomika Miller had been married for eight years. They shared three daughters and one stepson together. Miller told CBS News that she was devastated by her husband's death, especially after living out the national grief for George Floyd just weeks beforehand.
"Right now I'm still not processing the fact that my husband's not coming home ever," she said. "I never imagined it being at my front door. I never imagined it being me having to do this and go through this. And I honestly feel I felt the pain, but now I really feel the pain."
Stafford reportedly told CNN that he does not want the warrant for White to take anything away from the message of the peaceful protesters gathered throughout Atlanta in recent weeks, while Miller told reporters that she does not support property destruction or other violent forms of protest.