From October 8th until today there have been 7 total church fires in St. Louis at churches that are predominantly African-American.
- Fire #1: 10/8/15 at Bethel Non-Denominational Church, – Jennings, MO
- Fire #2: 10/10/15 at New North Side Baptist Church, – Jennings, MO
- Fire #3: 10/14/15 a St. Augustine Catholic Church – St. Louis, MO
- Fire #4: 10/15/15 at New Testament Church of Christ – St. Louis, MO
- Fire #5: 10/17/15 at New Life Missionary Baptist Church – St. Louis, MO
- Fire #6: 10/17/15 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church – St. Louis, MO
- Fire #7: 10/22/15 at Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic Church – St. Louis, MO
Police and investigators in the case have found someone and are officially filing criminal charges at the Circuit Attorney’s office today and police have a suspect in custody. Police are saying that the man is a 35-year-old black male named David Lopez Jackson.
The Rev. Robert Gettinger, of St. Augustine Catholic Church told St. Louis Today that he was relieved the suspect was finally found. “We pray for the person who has done this. It seems to be mentally off balance behavior,” Gettinger said.
Forensic evidence and surveillance footage showed his car and gas containers and thermoses that smelled of gasoline were found in his car.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay spoke at the press conference saying that arson of any kind is disturbing, but it is especially disturbing when it targets places of peace and community like these churches. He heralded local, county, and federal AFT officials for working together in collaboration with tips from community members to get to the bottom of the fires.
This was also the final arson investigation for ATF dog Chloe who is retiring today.
Feature image via video capture.