AURORA, Colo. – Arson investigators are trying to determine who torched Maleeka Jihad’s SUV.
Jihad, a social worker at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, told Denver7 that she was out of town on vacation when someone targeted her car,"
"I left it parked in front of my dad's apartment at Aurora Village," she said.
Aurora Village is located on East 13th Place near Jasper Street.
“He heard an explosion (just before 11 p.m.) on December 6, got up to look out the window, and saw that the car was on fire,” she said.
The first officer to arrive saw “a large amount of flames” coming from the back of a maroon colored Lincoln Navigator. He walked around the front, to see if anyone was inside. There wasn't.
He wrote in his report that the flames were a “bluish color and seemed to be fueled by an accelerant.”
The officer also wrote that he could also hear “what sounded like explosions” coming from the vehicle and noted that "there was a pipe on the ground… that seemed out of place."
Jihad told Denver7 that investigators don’t know if it was a random act, or whether someone was targeting her.
“The reason police are so baffled is that this is so out of the blue,” she said. “It could be random; they’re not sure.”
When asked if she had any enemies, Jihad replied, “I don’t have any enemies, but in this line of work, there are some cases that get a bit heated, and there are a lot of emotions that are involved.”
She said police told her it’s also possible the torching was part of a gang member’s initiation.
“I’d like to think it was a case of mistaken identity,” she said, “that it had nothing to do with me.”
Still, she’s a little unnerved.
She said the car was a total loss and because she only had liability insurance, she now has to come up with the cash to purchase another one.
Co-workers have set up a GoFundMe account to help Jihad.
“I’ve been using Uber and getting to know the bus system,” she said, “but I hope to be able to get another car as soon as I can afford one.”