A Phoenix homeowner says he doesn't know why someone would have targeted his family in a violent early-morning home invasion, except possibly to carry out a hate crime.
"I can't tell for sure. There is no other motivation in my mind," said 33 year-old Ahmed Fayad.
Fayad stood covered in soot Monday evening in front of his two story home that had been gutted by fire. He was hauling away clothes and belongings damaged by smoke and fire. The arson attack happened shortly after Fayad left his home to a local mosque for prayer services, he said.
According to information released by the Phoenix Police Department, the officers were called to a report of a burglary on East Dunbar Drive about 5:30 a.m. and found the front part of the home on fire.
"The guy waited and waited for me to leave, he broke in and went straight to the kids' room," Fayad said. "He then broke the master bedroom door where my wife was hiding with the kids. And then when he couldn't find anybody, he ran downstairs, set the fire and took off."
Fayad says his wife called him while the intruder was inside the home, frantic. Something must have scared the suspect away before he finished searching the master bedroom, Fayad said.
When police arrived at the house, they found the family on a second-floor balcony on the side of the house. Pulling their SUV up to the balcony, the officers were able to retrieve the children, 2 and 6 years old, then help the mother, 26, climb down.
The engineer says he knows nobody who would want to target him or his family.
Meanwhile Phoenix police were not releasing details of the investigation, except to say they were pursuing possible leads. Firefighters applauded the quick actions of two police officers who were first on the scene.
The Phoenix Police Department says they are investigating the incident but said there is no evidence to suggest the fire was a hate crime.