In a scene reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1960s, Black parishioners in Louisiana found a pile of smoldering embers Wednesday morning where their church had been the night before.
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe, Louisiana burned down late Tuesday night, and multiple witnesses reported seeing a man in an Energy Corp truck fleeing the scene.
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Police later detained a 15-year-old white male whom they suspected ignited the fire with gasoline in in a clear case of arson, News Star of Monroe reported Friday. He was found with the stolen Energy Corp truck as well.
Church members told police that a meeting had taken place the night of the blaze, and witnesses even reported speaking to the suspect not long before he allegedly torched the church.
“I couldn’t believe it,” parishioner Mary Alexander said. “You never expect things like this to happen this close by.”
Still, in a sign of their tremendous faith and compassion, members of the Church called for calm and prayers for everyone, even the suspected arson.
“We don’t know why, only God knows why he did what he did”, Alexander told MyArkLaMiss. “What’s going through that person’s mind? So we just ask for prayers for that person as well as our church family.”
Local TV coverage can be seen here.
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