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Turlock Family Feels Targeted After Police Investigate Hate Crime, Fire Near Their Home

TURLOCK (CBS13) – The Turlock Police Department said they are investigating two fires, one of which officers deemed suspicious in nature, and a racial slur that was spray painted on a fence and determined to be a hate crime.

A family sleeping in their own home near Kenwood Avenue woke up to a fire burning through their fence and into a tree in their back yard Friday morning.

Police don't know yet if this is connected to a racial slur spray painted in this same area. But that doesn't stop this family from worrying.

"I've been in Turlock for years. Never have I experienced anything like that. Never has my family experienced anything like that because they have been out here since 1998," said Tamyra Clayton, a relative.

Clayton wants to know why this happened to her family. She lives just yards away from their home, where they discovered the N-word spray painted on a fence during the last week. So when the fire flared up early Friday morning, they were already on edge.

"It could have killed people because where the fire was is where my cousin and her two kids sleep," Clayton said.

The Turlock Fire Department responded to the fire just before 2:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Kenwood Avenue, south of E. Hawkeye Avenue. According to police, firefighters said the blaze started as a debris fire in an alley, which spread to the fence.

Less than two hours before that, crews put out another fire just a block away on Mitchell Avenue. Police are describing that fire as suspicious.

"It's heartbreaking to see in our community any sort of hate, anything that makes people feel they are not welcome here," said Andrew Nosrati, a Turlock city council member.

Nosrati visited the neighborhood Friday, hoping to spread a message of peace.

Clayton and her family said they love their community and that Turlock is not a hateful place, but they can't help but feel nervous.

"Is it somebody that targeted them? Is it somebody that feels that way? Who's to say that they won't target somebody else?" Clayton said.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

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