Wolfskin Ink, a popular West Phoenix tattoo parlor whose late proprietor is the subject of this week's New Times cover story, was firebombed early Wednesday morning by unknown persons wielding a Molotov cocktail.
According to Wolfskin's current owner Rayney Perkins, most of the damage done to the shop was due to flooding, and actual fire damage was minimal because the firebomb didn't make it past a piece of metal just inside the window. Perkins said the firebomb — apparently a jar filled with gasoline — ignited curtains and a table inside the studio, triggering Wolfskin's sprinklers and the sprinklers of adjacent businesses that share the same strip mall near 19th Avenue and Bell Road.
She said there was some sort of altercation last night between Wolfskin employees and individuals who were told to get out of the parking lot, but she is unsure if this had anything to do with the attack.
"Who knows?" Perkins told New Times, as she stood outside her waterlogged business. "People do stupid shit because they get angry and they're drunk or whatever. But we haven't had any recent issues."
Captain Steve Caudle, an investigator with the Phoenix Fire Department, was at the scene. Asked for a comment, he would only say that the firebombing is an "active investigation."
Earlier, New Times overheard Caudle explaining to Perkins that nearby security cameras had captured video of a car driving past Wolfskin, and the incendiary device being lit and thrown at the storefront. Caudle told Perkins that he is gathering security-camera footage from area businesses in an attempt to identify the perpetrators. Perkins says neither she nor the shop had received any threats. She said she learned of firebombing at about 5 a.m., when the property manager called her at home.
This jibes with information from PFD spokesman Captain Rob McDade, who told New Times firefighters were dispatched to Wolfskin at 4:52 a.m. Upon arriving, they discovered that the sprinklers had suppressed the fire in the front of the business. McDade said investigators are reviewing video and hope to release footage to local media this evening.
This latest misfortune for Perkins comes nearly three months after the murder of her husband, Jubel Dean Perkins, on August 23 in a sketchy area of East Central Phoenix. Police say Jubel and another man drove up to a house near 19th and Adams streets, where Jubel got out of the car. At some point, he exchanged words with a group of African-American men and was shot in the back numerous times as he attempted to flee.
His companion, who has not been named, is cooperating with Phoenix police, who are investigating the incident. According to a Phoenix police spokesman, there are no suspects or developments in the case. Jubel's murder has left Rayney a widow with four children to raise, ages 1 to 11.
An ex-con, Jubel had reformed his life in the six years he had been out, after spending several years in prison for aggravated assault, attempted armed robbery, and other crimes. Starting out in a shed in his backyard, he grew Wolfskin Ink into a thriving business, employing six artists in addition to himself.
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His death has been a loss for local followers of Asatru, a religion that venerates Old Norse gods such as Thor and Odin. Jubel led a local kindred, as groupings of Asatru worshipers are called, and he made the religion part of everything he did.
As this week's cover story discusses, there is some crossover between the non-racist heathen community and white nationalism, but Jubel himself was one-quarter Native American and had Hispanic and black relatives and customers.
Might the New Times article have had something to do with last night's attack? It seems highly unlikely, given that the story was published online at 6:02 a.m., more than an hour after the fire department dispatched units to the business. The print version of New Times doesn't hit the streets till later tonight.
Wolfskin is just across the parking lot from a well-known biker bar, the Steel Horse Saloon, and has supporters throughout the biker and pagan communities. On Sunday, November 12, there will be a memorial ride and fundraiser starting at the Maverick Saloon at 9605 North 19th Avenue in Phoenix, with registration at 10 a.m. All vehicles are welcome and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to benefit Rayney Perkins and her children.