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Tag: arson

Son of Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested Over Fires at 3 Black Churches in La.

Suspect Holden Matthews. Via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The 21-year-old son of a St. Landry Parish deputy has been identified as the suspect accused of setting fire to three historic black churches in Louisiana.

“A suspect has been identified in connection with the three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and those St. Landry Parish residents affected by these despicable acts.”

Holden Matthews was turned in by his father, Deputy Roy Matthews, on Wednesday evening, CBS News reports.

The three fires have a lot in common: They broke out at historic African American church buildings in Louisiana Landry Parish at night, were located in rural areas and occurred when no one was inside.

The suspect lives in the Landry Parish.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether authorities have a motive.

The ATF and other agencies are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday to release more information.

Earlier this week, the NAACP called the church burnings “domestic terrorism” aimed at people because of their race and faith.

The first fire broke out on March 26 and burned St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to the ground. The second fire occurred Tuesday at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the third fire broke out Thursday at the 100-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

FBI, ATF Investigate ‘Suspicious’ Fires at 3 Historic Black Churches in Louisiana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, ATF and Louisiana state officials are investigating a series of “suspicious” blazes at historic black Baptist churches in Louisiana.

The three fires have a lot in common: They broke out at historic African American church buildings in Louisiana Landry Parish at night, were located in rural areas and occurred when no one was inside, ABC News reports.

The first fire broke out on March 26 and burned St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to the ground. The second fire occurred Tuesday at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the third fire broke out Thursday at the 100-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

Authorities said they’re on high alert and consider all three fires to be suspicious.

ATF Investigating Rash of Fires Targeting Jehovah’s Witness Centers in Washington State

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating a rash of suspicious fires targeting Jehovah’s Witness worship centers in Washington State.

A predawn fire on Friday was the fifth suspected arson in Thurston County in the past nine months. The fire destroyed the kingdom hall, and the ATF said it was intentionally set.

No arrests have been made. Surveillance video captured one person, who was wearing a hoodie and coveralls, setting fire to the side of a hall.

Authorities aren’t sure if that’s the only culprit, and the motive remains elusive.

“Why is this specific religion being targeted?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told KOMO, the ABC affiliate in Seattle. “Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?”

Authorities Investigating Arson of DEA Vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine who set fire to a DEA vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

The SUV was in the parking lot of a building that houses DEA offices, KSNW reports. 

The Wichita Police Department said the fire broke out around 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 6.

Two people were spotted in a surveillance video approaching the vehicle before it was set on fire.

The surveillance wasn’t released, but investigators are trying to determine the identity of the two people.

The DEA, Wichita Police Department and ATF are investigating.

Arson Suspected at Florida Mosque Where Orlando Nightclub Shooter Worshiped

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Local law enforcement is asking the FBI and ATF to join the investigation into a suspicious fire early Monday morning at the Fort Pierce, Fla., mosque where the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had worshiped.

“Evidence has revealed that this fire was set intentionally,” St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Maj. David Thompson told reporters, the Orlando Sentinel reports. 

The fire broke out at about 12:30 a.m. at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. No injuries were reported.

Surveillance video shows someone approaching the mosque.

“Immediately after the individual approached, a flash occurred and the individual fled the area,” Thompson said.

ATF Offers $10K Reward After 8 Milwaukee Businesses Were Set Ablaze

ATF_LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of arsonists who set fire to eight Milwaukee businesses during an uprising over the weekend.

The Washington Times reports that arsonists targeted a gas station, beauty supply store, auto parts store, supermarket and three liquor stores on Saturday and Sunday night.

A rally over three fatal shooting of Sylville Smith, an armed black man, turned violent after police tried to stop a march.

Seven officers also were injured.

The damage is “estimated to exceed several million dollars,” the ATF said.

Other Stories of Interest

Violent Crime Increased Nationwide in First Half of 2015, FBI Reports

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Violent crimes in the U.S. increased in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary FBI data.

Local law enforcement reported to the bureau a 1.7% increase in violent crimes in the first six months of 2015. Murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery rose nationwide, while arson and burglary declined.

“While the overall violent crime rates remain historically low, and it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions, the Justice Department is acutely focused on the increases being experienced in some communities of the country,” Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush told CBS News. “While the overall violent crime rates remain historically low, and it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions, the Justice Department is acutely focused on the increases being experienced in some communities of the country,” said Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush.

Despite the increase, the violent crime rate is still far below what it was 20 years ago.

ATF Arrests Man Accused of Setting Fire to Houston Mosque on Christmas Day

Gary Nathaniel Moore

Gary Nathaniel Moore

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities arrested a man accused of setting a Houston mosque on fire on Christmas Day, Houston Public Media reports. 

ATF isn’t sure what motivated Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, to commit arson at the mosque.

Moore told authorities that he worshipped at the mosque.

At this time, there is no evidence of a hate crime, authorities said.

Moore was charged with one felony count of arson at a place of worship.

Other Stories of Interest