Car arson victim: ‘Someone is out to get me’

"They were trying to kill me," Sonya DeAngelo said

A Portland grandmother was shocked to find her car had been set on fire in the middle of the night. April 22, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
A Portland grandmother was shocked to find her car had been set on fire in the middle of the night. April 22, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — First, it was a threatening message painted on her car. Then, a local grandmother told KOIN 6 News she woke up to find her car completely engulfed in flames. Now, she said, she believes someone is out to get her.

“There’s gas, and gas and fire, that explosion,” Sonya DeAngelo said. “To me, that’s war.”

DeAngelo said she was sound asleep when, all of a sudden, she woke up to find her car had burst into flames.

“I was yelling ‘fire, call the police!'” she said.

A racist message was spray painted on Deangelo's car. (KOIN 6 News)
A racist message was spray painted on Deangelo’s car. (KOIN 6 News)

It was an undoubtedly frightening experience for the single grandmother, enhanced by the fact that her car was parked right next to the home’s gas line.

“I look at it like attempted murder, they were trying to kill me,” DeAngelo said. “I really feel in my heart and soul that they didn’t want me here to talk.”

But DeAngelo said this isn’t the first time her car has been vandalized. Last month, someone spray painted ‘white power’ on its sides.

“To me, it’s more than a racial slur,” she said. “It said ‘white power,’ I take that as a threat being a black woman.”

Investigators have classified the incident as an arson. At this point, police won’t say if it’s a hate crime. But neighbors say, it’s obvious.

“She doesn’t have any problems with anybody,” neighbor Rodney Grooms said. “Real nice to all the neighbors, you know, everybody here speaks to each other, looks out for each other.”

Though she’s upset, DeAngelo said she’s trying not to let the alleged attack bring her down.

“I’m just going to stay focused on the positive and concentrate on just still continuing to do better in life,” she said.

Portland Police told KOIN 6 News they are aware of both the racist message and the arson fire. They said at this point they do not have any information on a suspect.

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