Police: Car fire likely retaliation against friends of murder suspect

Police: Car fire likely retaliation against friends of murder suspect »Play Video
Photo of a burned out car in Bremerton. (Photo courtesy: Bremerton Police Department)
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Investigators in Bremerton believe that car fire early Thursday morning could be related to the murder of 6-year-old Jenise Wright.

Police were notified around 1 a.m. of flames coming from a car in a driveway at Pine Road and Sylvan Way, said Sgt. Kevin Crane with Bremerton Police. The officer was able to get the fire out before firefighters arrived.

Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set by an accelerant placed in the front seat, Crane said. A second car in the driveway was also vandalized with some writing on it.

It turns out, the cars were owned by family friends of the Gaeta family, Crane said. Seventeen-year-old Gabriel Gaeta is charged with the rape and murder of Jenise Wright.

"There is belief that the fire was in retaliation for supporting the suspect's family," Crane said.

Crane said there was evidence left behind at the scene they hope will lead them to the arsonist(s). Both police and fire investigators are working the case.

Meanwhile, Crane pleaded for others angered by the death of Jenise not to retaliate.

"That is not the way to handle the emotions. The victim's family is asking people to please not retaliate," Crane said. "There are other avenues to go forth with your feelings... Don't take this out on innocent individuals who are just lending support to a few people who are just like the many who are devastated by what occurred."