Suspect arrested in ‘suspicious’ fires at black churches in Louisiana

U.S. & World
louisiana_1554983263391.jpeg

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph says authorities have arrested a person in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in Louisiana.

Joseph announced late Wednesday that the suspect is in state custody, and said federal agents stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims of “these despicable acts.” A Thursday press conference at the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is planned.

The first fire torched the St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre last month. Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned. Each was more than 100 years old, with mostly African American congregations.

The churches were empty at the time of the fires, and no one was injured.

Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, who declared all three fires suspicious, said “If you’re going to turn to a house of God, turn to it for resurrection.”

The investigation was joined by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and many people from state agencies in Louisiana.

The Rev. Harry Richard of Greater Union Baptist Church told the Advocate newspaper last week that he didn’t want people to panic or leap to conclusions while investigators were doing their work.

“I don’t know who’s doing it or why they’re doing it, but I don’t want to be the one to inject race into it,” he said.

Grab the FREE WDTN News App for iPhone or Android. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen.

news-app-download-apple-350x50
news-app-download-android-350x50

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, weather and sports.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tornado Recovery

Interactive Radar

More As Seen on 2 NEWS