Veteran's home set on fire, vandalized, investigators find anti-Trump graffiti racial slurs on walls

Home ransacked, children's beds set on fire

PLANT CITY, Fla. - The State Fire Marshall is investigating a suspicious fire at a Plant City home that started early Tuesday morning.

Naval veteran Matthew Smith said he got the call just after 3 a.m. from his neighbor that fire trucks were across the street.

“Your heart kind of just sinks in your chest,” Smith said.  “Definitely blessed to have not been here.   It was pretty bad.”

Smith said the family was staying with their grandparents when he got the call.  His 8-year-old daughter’s bed was set on fire along with his 18-month-old son’s crib.  Every single room in the remainder of the home also suffered fire damage.

“The place was ransacked.  Clothes from my room, all the way to the back, just made it everywhere.   Papers, important documents thrown everywhere, just torn up.  The Christmas tree set up yesterday was knocked down and had been lit on fire.  Every piece of furniture was pretty much burned through.”

On the walls someone wrote in spray paint the words, “cracker, F- Trump, not my prez, and F- yo kids.”

“Definitely scary,” Smith said.  

Smith said he made a lot of pro-Trump posts on Facebook, but never put any signs supporting Trump in his yard.   He couldn’t even begin to try and understand who would do something like this to his home.  He felt that whoever destroyed his home were just copying other anti-Trump protesters from across the country.

“It's been several months now where there's protesters breaking the law, damaging property, destroying cities,” Smith said.  “And, ‘oh just let them do it’ and that's not how it should have gone down.   If you are breaking the law you should go to jail.   That's it.”

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire as suspicious and a possible case of arson.  

Meanwhile Smith is trying to salvage whatever he can and hopefully get enough support to celebrate Christmas with his wife and children.

“It upsets me that things like this happen,” Smith said.   “But, there's not a whole lot I can do now but fall back and regroup and get things back.  I'm glad none of us were here.”'

The family has set up a GoFundMe account for anyone who would like to help them through this tough time.

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