BREMERTON — An arsonist torched an innocent family’s Subaru Legacy and vandalized their second car, apparently because they are friendly with the mother of the teen suspected of killing 6-year-old Jenise Wright, police and the victims said Thursday.
The damage was done to the cars just before 1 a.m. Thursday. Police said there’s no doubt the burning of the Subaru, driven by the owner’s 23-year-old daughter, was a case of arson.
“An accelerant was used and it was lit on fire. The car was pretty much destroyed and burned and the car next to it in the driveway had something scratched into it. It was vandalism that (the scratch) was referring to the recent homicide case involving Jenise Wright,” Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan said.
Just about everyone knows Jenise Wright’s family — and the family of the 17-year-old suspect, Gabriel Gaeta, who all live in the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park.
The victims in the car vandalism case are friendly with Gabriel Gaeta’s mother, a friendship from which they refuse to walk away.
The owner of the cars, who wants to remain anonymous, released a statement Thursday night that read:
“I work with the mother of the accused young man. She is my friend. It is obvious that someone took exception to us assisting my friend, who has done no wrong. My daughter’s vehicle is now ruined and we are now the subject of unwanted attention.”
Strachan said, “This is an emotional and intense case. Everyone has a very strong emotional response to what happened to Jenise Wright. This is obviously a destructive and very negative way for people to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, at Signtown USA, a new banner hangs on the wall.
It was made to replace one a customer had made for Jenise’s vigil.
The owner wanted a new one because Gaeta had signed the old one, prior to his arrest in the case.
Signtown USA donated a replacement and is offering everyone an opportunity to come sign it.
“We made a new one, but we were kind of sad that all that love that was put on the first banner was lost so we tried to get people down here to sign the new one,” Signtown USA spokeswoman Cara Kurts said.
Signtown USA will open at 9 a.m. Friday. Anyone can drop by and sign it any time before 5 p.m.
As for the arson, police say they found evidence at the scene and the investigation is moving forward.
Arson is a felony and police say there will be closure to this case as well.
Anyone with information should call Bremerton police or 911.