Categories
anti-Trump Arson Donald Trump Intelwars Pennsylvania Trump flag Trump supporter

Man, 60, tells cops he burned Trump flag hanging from home during paper route because he was ‘angry’

Police said a 60-year-old man told them he set fire to a flag supporting President Donald Trump — which was hanging from a home on his newspaper route — because he was “angry,” NorthcentralPA.com reported.

What are the details?

Harrison Bennett was charged with felony arson after police in Shamokin City, Pennsylvania, said he set the flag ablaze when it was attached to an occupied building, the outlet said.

Bennett is scheduled for a preliminary hearing before District Judge John Gembic on Nov. 10, the outlet added.

Officer Tyler R. Bischof said Bennett used a cigarette lighter to burn a Trump flag attached to a house in the 400 block of South Shamokin St. just after 3 a.m. Aug. 27, the outlet reported, citing a Sept. 4 criminal complaint.

The homeowner had a video of the flag burning incident, and a photograph from the video was posted to the Shamokin Crime Watch Facebook page in an attempt to identify him, Bischof told the outlet.

Police said they got a tip that the man in the video may work for a paper in the city, the News-Item, the outlet noted. Turns out Bennett helped another man deliver newspapers along a route that included the scene of the flag burning, the outlet added, citing the complaint.

“Bennett said that he has anger problems and that it spilled over and so he lit the flag,” Bischof wrote, according to NorthcentralPA.

What did the suspect have to say?

Bennett made the following written statement: “I got up at 2:00 am and went and helped with newspaper. Was angry and burned flag,” the outlet said, citing the complaint.

Besides felony arson, Bennett also was charged with one felony count of risking catastrophe and one count of summary criminal mischief.

More of the same

Pro-Trump flags and banners seem to be occupying a more prominent space within the news cycle as the presidential election draws closer:

Share
Categories
Arson Attacks on trump supporters Brooklyn center police department Dennis molla Intelwars Investigations Minnesota arson Targeted attacks

Suspected arson levels Trump supporter’s garage, vehicles. Graffiti at the scene reads ‘Biden 2020,’ ‘BLM.’

A Trump supporter’s garage was
set ablaze in what authorities are saying could be an act of arson.

What are the details ?

According to
WCCO-TV, Minnesota officials are investigating a fire that demolished a family’s garage and three of their vehicles.

The fire broke out Wednesday morning at Dennis Molla’s residence in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Molla, an immigrant from Ukraine, told the
Star Tribune that he’s in disbelief that someone could target another person in such a way for differing political beliefs.

“I think things have gotten way out of control,” he told the outlet. “I’m not one of those confrontational people. … I just feel very sorry for my parents, just because they wanted to leave the USSR for us to have a better future and life in America. … For them to see me express my beliefs as a Republican, it’s crazy to think it came down to this.”

The family, in a since-deleted Facebook post,
wrote, “This morning, at 3:48am our house was supposedly targeted by BLM/Antifa. We woke up to a loud explosion, and saw that our camper was on fire, along with both of Dennis’s trucks, his garage, and our entire back yard. Thank God our main house is safe. We are safe. Our children are safe. Thank you so much to the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Minnesota for helping us get our family out of the house, and a special thanks to officer C. Jordan and another officer and firefighters for saving our dogs. He said it was so ht they almost had to leave them. Thank you God we are alive and safe, and pray that justice is served.”

The family’s garage also had graffiti sprayed on it, reading, “Biden 2020” and “BLM” as well as what appeared to be an anarchy symbol.

‘My son smells like smoke’

Dennis’ wife, Deana, told the outlet that when the family heard the explosion, Dennis “climbed out of a basement window in his boxers and T-shirt, and saw three people running and picked up a box of matches.”

She said that two of the vehicles that burned had an American flag and a Trump 2020 flag on them.

She also added that the timing of the fire seemed rather suspicious.

“She recalled a troubling experience her husband had about 10 days ago while working in downtown Minneapolis on a construction site,” the Star Tribune reported. “His pickup with the Trump flag was parked nearby, when someone ‘drove by slowly and took pictures,’ she said, and feces was later left at his vehicle when he went on a water break.”

“[The suspects] saw that we have a jungle gym and toys in the backyard,” she told the outlet. “To put our babies in harm’s way because you don’t agree with our politics; just don’t put our kids in danger. My son smells like smoke.”

‘This fire is considered suspicious and our investigation remains extremely active’

In a Wednesday
statement, the Brooklyn Center Police Department said:

Just before 4:00 am, Brooklyn Center police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the report of an explosion and fire in the area of 69th Ave N and Morgan Ave N in Brooklyn Center. Officers located a fire at a residence in the 6900 block of Morgan Ave N. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, but not before a detached three car garage and three vehicles were destroyed. There was minor damage to the house. There were no injuries during this incident. Officers and firefighters were able to save the three dogs in kennels and four puppies located in the garage.* This fire is considered suspicious and our investigation remains extremely active. The home occupants had a fairly large “Trump 2020″ sign that was destroyed, and our officers observed what appeared to be fresh spray paint on the garage before it burned down. The spray paint included “Biden 2020″, “BLM” and capital letter “A” with a circle around it.

The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating the fire. A reward of $5,000 is being offered for information on the case. Tips can be called in to 1-800-723-2020.

(H/T:
The Daily Wire)

Share
Categories
Arson Arson arrests Intelwars Starting fires West coast wildfires wildfires

At least 13 people have been arrested for West Coast arson crimes. Here are the details.

As wildfires scorch the West Coast, debate is raging on the internet over what exactly is causing the fires — climate change or human acts of arson. And as Glenn Beck pointed out on Wednesday, it appears the left and Big Tech have already made their determination and have resolved to make that everyone else’s determination, too.

Over the past week, PolitiFact summarily shot down allegations of human-made fires and Facebook announced a sweeping policy to flag and remove posts on the platform suggesting as much.

But that flies in the face of the truth of the matter regarding the wildfires, which is that many of the fires burning through California, Oregon, and Washington state were in fact started by criminals. While reasonable people might argue about the extent to which climate change and/or poor forest management made the fires worse than they otherwise would have been, there can be no doubt that many of these fires would not have existed at all if they had not been intentionally started by humans.

A quick survey of national and local media reports show that there have been at least 13 named individuals arrested on arson crimes in recent weeks.

Here are the details

1. Jeffrey Acord, 36, was arrested in Puyallup, Washington, last Wednesday on reckless burning charges. When police arrived on the scene, Acord reportedly started Facebook livestreaming the incident to act like he had discovered the fire. Acord is a known Black Lives Matter activist who led a BLM rally in June. He had previously been arrested on weapons charges during a 2014 protest in Ferguson, Missouri.

2. Elijas Newton Pendergrass, 44, was arrested under suspicion of starting the Sweet Creek Milepost 2 fire west of Eugene, Oregon, earlier this month. That fire has burned hundreds of acres and prompted evacuations.

3. Christine Comello, 36, was arrested in Spokane, Washington, last week on first- and second-degree arson charges. She had allegedly started fires near a commercial business and an old oil drum that reportedly “gave the fire the potential to explode into something much larger.”

4. Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was arrested near Portland, Oregon, this week for starting a fire using a Molotov cocktail. A day later, police said he was arrested again for starting six more small brushfires. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation and is being held on a total of seven counts of reckless burning.

5. Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, was arrested in Phoenix, Oregon, last week on two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief, and 14 counts of reckless endangerment. According to police, Bakkela is responsible for setting one of the two origins of the Almeda fire, which burned thousands of acres in southern Oregon and has killed two people. As of last week, 50 people remain unaccounted for as a result of the fire.

6. Jonathan Maas, 44, was arrested in Dexter, Oregon, for allegedly starting a fire in the woods near a frisbee golf course.

7. Anita Esquivel, 37, was arrested in Salinas, California, for allegedly starting multiple fires along Highway 101. There were reportedly some indications that Esquivel was connected to Antifa, but the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has since denied those allegations.

8. Osmin Palencia, 36, a homeless man, was arrested last month for allegedly starting the Ranch 2 Fire in Azusa, California. That fire ended up burning through nearly 5,000 acres of land and took hundreds of firefighters to contain.

9. Ivan Geronimo Gomez, 31, has been arrested under suspicion that he was involved in starting the massive Dolan Fire in Big Sur, California, which has burned through at least 23,000 acres. Gomez was also detained under suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation.

10. Sammy Piatt, 53, was arrested for setting a pile of leaves on fire near a county building last Friday in Oregon City, Oregon..

11. Jett Avery Thomas, 36, was arrested for allegedly trying to set a hotel gas pipe on fire in Portland, Oregon.

12. John Davies, 55, and reportedly a transient, was arrested earlier this month for starting multiple fires in Novato, California.

13. Jacob Altona, 28, was arrested after being chased by cops along State Route 512 and State Route 7 in Washington. He was alleged to have started a fire in the brush along the highway.

Anything else?

It should be noted that these are only the instances in which law enforcement were able to catch the individuals allegedly starting fires, as well as only the instances in which the suspects names have been released. There have been more reported arrests.

Also, on Sept. 7, after 300,000 acres were reported to have burned the day prior in Washington state, public lands commissioner Hilary Franz said she believes all 58 of the fires were caused by humans.

“Because there was no lightning in the area, we believe all of these fires we saw yesterday were human caused,” Franz said.

While information is still being collected about the fires across the West Coast, it’s fair to call it malpractice to brush aside claims that criminals are responsible for starting many of the fires.

Here’s more from Glenn Beck:

Share
Categories
2nd Amendment Arson gun rights Intelwars oregon Oregon wildfires Second Amendment West coast wildfires

Armed Oregon woman holds suspected arsonist at gunpoint until cops arrive

As wildfires rage along the West Coast, law enforcement has nabbed several suspected arsonists, including multiple arrests in Oregon.

One armed Oregonian was ready to defend her property — and her state — from the actions of a suspected would-be arsonist, and now her story is going viral on social media.

What happened?

Kat Cast posted a video to Facebook over the weekend showing her taking action to get a man she believed to be an arsonist off her property, on the ground, and eventually into the back of a police vehicle and the local clink.

In the video, Cast can been seen getting out of her car with gun drawn and approaching a suspicious man who was walking on her property.

According to Cast’s Facebook post, she said she found the man walking on her property as she was driving in. All he was carrying was a book of matches, Cast stated.

Some of you still think we’re not being under attack. I found this individual walking in my property as I was driving in, all he had were some matches in his hand. Walked him out of my property at gunpoint and then when we got to some asphalt ground on the main road made him lay down while the cops arrived.

In the video, the suspect lies down on the road as Cast approaches him, shouting, “Get on the floor. Get on the floor right now — face down.”


Image source: Facebook/Kat Cast video screenshot

“What are you doing on my property?” she asks, to which the suspect replies that he didn’t know it was her property.

“Did you light anything on fire?” she continues.

“No, ma’am,” he replies.

Then she demands to know what he’s doing with the book of matches, and he claims he smokes.

“You smoke? Where are your f***ing cigarettes?” the woman demands to know.


Image source: Facebook/Kat Cast video screenshot

Turns out he didn’t have any cigarettes — just matches he was carrying around in his hand while strolling along her property.

Cast tells the suspect to stay on the ground because the police were on their way: “You can just stay right there. I’ve got the cops coming’.”

Content warning: rough language

Shortly after the video stopped, Cast said, cops did arrive and take the man into custody.

According to Cast’s Facebook post, the suspect has “multiple warrants one of them being assaulting a police officer.”

Cast also made it clear that the suspect should consider himself lucky that she found him and not her husband.

“Had my husband been here he would have been dead,” she wrote.

Blowback and encouragement

In an update to her post, Cast noted that many people, including the media, had been reaching out to her about the story. Many, she said, doubted her story and said it looked staged, but most of the comments were supportive.

Because she did not want more stress put on her family, she said she would not be talking to the media about the incident.

I read all your msgs to me, even the private ones, I can tell you that this truly did happen and there is nothing fake about it, I do not wish to keep private msgs between you and I, not with you or the dozens of people who are reaching out to me. Some with terrifying words, but mostly I am truly humbled by many kind words that have been said to me. I do not wish to speak to anyone, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a journalist who wants to put out on the news, I will not put my family in danger by exposing myself any more than what I have already, besides the media will just twist my words. Feel free to use the pictures that you have obtained if you want but I will not interview with anyone. I will tell you something though if I need to do this again to protect my family and my neighbors, I will in a heartbeat do it again, except this time I will not be as nice as I was. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” In all things, may the victory come to us while the glory goes to God. Blessings -Kat.

Share
Categories
Arson California fires Intelwars Oregon fires Washington fires wildfires

Authorities arrest 2 more suspects on arson charges as West Coast fires rage on

As devastating fires rage across the West Coast, authorities have arrested at least two more people suspected of arson.

Washington troopers arrested Jeffrey Acord, 36, who allegedly attempted to set a fire along SR-167 in Puyallup last Wednesday. An off-duty police sergeant was traveling north on the road when he spotted a Chevrolet pickup truck parked on the shoulder of Route 167. The truck, reportedly driven by Acord, merged back onto the highway as Fife Police Sgt. Kevin approached in his vehicle.

“I soon noticed that there was a small fire starting to grow in the dry grass directly next to the location where the pickup truck had been stopped,” Sgt. Kevin said.

Kevin reported the fire and pulled over the truck. When he confronted Acord, the suspect began livestreaming his arrest on Facebook.

“The guy was live streaming (on Facebook) like he found the fire,” Trooper Ryan Burke said. “He was trying to make it look like he didn’t do it.”

The video has since been taken down. Acord was charged with second-degree arson and booked into Puyallup City Jail. He posted bail early the next morning.

Less than two hours after he posted bail, police responded to a break-in at a convenience store three blocks from the police station. Police say they recognized Acord on surveillance video and arrested him again on charges of second-degree burglary for allegedly kicking in a window covered with plywood and stealing drinks and snacks.

In Oregon, deputies arrested 44-year-old Jonathan Maas on suspicion of arson in the first degree. He is accused of attempting to start a fire in the woods near a disc golf course at Dexter State Recreation Area last week.

“The fire was in a wooded area and was approximately 5 feet in diameter before it was extinguished by two people playing frisbee golf in the area,” police said. “A man in a minivan was seen leaving the area shortly before the fire was discovered.”

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office investigated, and Maas was arrested last Thursday.

“While this fire was discovered and extinguished before it grew in size, the potential for the fire to have spread quickly was there,” the sheriff’s office said. “We are thankful for the community members who spotted and extinguished the fire before it was able to hurt anyone or cause any structure damage.”

Last week, authorities arrested four other individuals suspected of starting fires in California, Oregon, and Washington. One suspect, Domingo Lopez Jr., was arrested a second time after allegedly starting six more fires after his initial arrest.

The death toll from dozens of fires burning across the West Coast has reached 35, with fires burning approximately 5 million acres and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Share
Categories
Arson California fires El dorado fire Fires on west coast Intelwars Oregon fires Washington fires wildfires

Authorities arrest 4 people on arson charges in deadly and massive California, Oregon, and Washington wildfires

Authorities have arrested at least four people for suspected arson in the massive and still-growing wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington.

What are the details?

According to reports, authorities in those states say that at least four of the fires are considered suspicious.

California authorities arrested suspect Anita Esquivel for allegedly intentionally setting fires along U.S. 101.

She was booked into the Monterey County Jail on arson charges.

Oregon authorities also arrested Michael Jarrod Bakkela, who lived in the woods of Oregon on two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief, and 14 counts of reckless endangerment.

Oregon Live reports that Bakkela is reportedly responsible for setting one of two major wildfires in the state, which has killed dozens and displaced hundreds.

Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office spokesperson Rich Tyler added that the fire Bakkela reportedly set is considered to be one of two origins of the Almeda fire.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office PIO Mike Moran told ABC News that the fire has caused “significant damage.”

“There are numerous homes, many of which are burnt completely, some are just heavily damaged, that are part of the 15 counts of criminal mischief,” he said.

According to Oregon Live, authorities have told area residents to prepare for a “mass fatality incident” due to the fires.

Washington authorities arrested two unrelated suspects who reportedly set small fires in the brush in two different areas of freeway.

CNN on Thursday reported that the wildfires across the western states torched more than 4 million acres, which is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey.

Anything else?

The FBI on Friday released a statement about reports that “extremists” were responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon.

“FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon,” the statement rad. “With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue. Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.”

Share
Categories
Adia diol Arson Arson suspects Denver Police Djibril diol firefighters Intelwars Kadida diol murders wanted

Police seek 3 masked suspects in arson death of 5 members of a Senegalese family

The Denver police are seeking to find three suspects who they believe set fire to a Green Valley Ranch neighborhood home in Colorado that killed five members of a Senegalese family.

On Tuesday, Denver police released a photo of three masked suspects who they believe carried out the crime, the Denver Post reported.

What are the details?

A deadly fire broke out in the early morning hours on Aug. 5 at the Diol residence.

Firefighters arrived on the scene, but were not able to save Djibril Diol, 29; his wife, Adja Diol, 23; their 2-year-old daughter, Kadidia Diol, or Djibril sister, Hassan Diol, 25; and her infant, Hawa Beye.

Three other people belonging to the family were able to survive as they fled from the burning home.

Denver police are searching for three masked suspects who they believe set the fire.

The three reportedly fled the scene in a dark-colored sedan, and in addition to wearing masks, wore dark hooded sweatshirts.

A GoFundMe page to benefit the family has received $192,543 at the time of this reporting.

A life and a family cut short in its prime

On Aug. 7, Division Chief Joe Montoya said that authorities are investigating the case as a homicide.

“We need to find these individuals or individual and we have to be able to hold them accountable for what they did on that day,” he said. “Beyond the money, what I’m asking for is a heartfelt plea. I want people to look into their hearts. … This was a family that was thriving. They were headed in the right direction.”

Montoya did not speculate as to whether the crime was a bias-related hate crime.

“We don’t want to get tunnel-visioned into a motive,” he said at the time. “There are some cases, on the front end it’s very evident as to what the motive was for a crime. This is not one of those cases. We have to go into this very open-minded and look at every possible angle and if at some point we determine it was hate-motivated or bias-motivated then we will definitely share it with the community.”

He also pointed out that the family’s patriarch, Djibril, “was doing all the things he needed to do to provide his family with an amazing life in America, and that was all cut short on that day.”

On Twitter, the Denver Police Department wrote, “Five people were killed in fire in the 5300 block of N Truckee Street. The fire appeared to be deliberately set by unknown persons who fled the area. Anyone w/info on this homicide is asked to call @CrimeStoppersCO at 720-913-7867 and you could earn a $14k reward!”

Share
Categories
Arson atlanta Georgia Intelwars Natalie white Rayshard brooks Wendy's

Cops arrest female suspect for burning down Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed. She was reportedly his girlfriend.

Atlanta police said Tuesday they have arrested the person they believe is responsible for burning down the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a white police officer on June 12.

The police arrested 29-year-old Natalie White, who reportedly was Brooks’s girlfriend.

White surrendered to police on Tuesday, WSB-TV said. She was charged with first-degree arson and released from jail Wednesday on $10,000 bond. She was also placed on house arrest and is required to wear an ankle monitor.

According to CNN, body camera footage shows that Brooks told police about a woman who was his girlfriend.

Drew Findling, White’s attorney, told the New York Post that Brooks and White “were close friends,” and confirmed “that she was the woman Brooks referred to in the bodycam video,” according to the Post.

Findling did not elaborate on the extent of the alleged relationship “out of respect to the Brooks family who had a funeral today and is grieving the loss of Rayshard Brooks,” he told the Post.

Brooks was married to a woman named Tomika Miller.

Attorneys for the Brooks family were previously unaware of a connection between White and Brooks, WSB reported.

Findling maintains that his client is innocent.

The restaurant was set on fire on June 13 while protesters watched. Police are reportedly searching for a second suspect in the arson.


Arson suspect Natalie White appearing in court

www.youtube.com

Share
Categories
Arson Church COVID-19 Pandemic First penecostal of holly springs Intelwars

Pastor says arsonist burned down church because congregants want to worship in person amid COVID-19 pandemic

Mississippi Pastor Jerry Waldrop says that his church is no longer standing because its congregants wanted to worship in person — rather than remotely — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 20, a suspect burned down the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs in Holly Springs, Mississippi. The resulting damage was a total loss for the building and its parishioners and staff.

What are the details?

In an op-ed published by USA Today, Waldrop expressed his unhappiness with being told to close his doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I never thought that in America I’d experience what it was like for … armed policeman to hand me an official government document, ordering our community of faithful to cease and desist worshiping on Easter Sunday,” he wrote, “and to depart the House of God.”

Waldrop said that someone was apparently angry enough with the church and its parishioners that they decided to burn down the structure, “leaving only a smoldering mass of debris and our dreams.”

“They left graffiti,” he wrote, “trying to shame us for worshiping together in our church.”

Indeed, they did.

A suspect in the arson reportedly spray-painted an ominous warning in the church’s parking lot: “Bet you stay home now hypokrits.”

‘Who would do such a thing?’

“Who would do such a thing? Why would anyone want to destroy a sacred place where the faithful venerate God in their own way, in a way that does not intrude on others’ rights or disrupt their lives?” Waldrop wrote. “But critics tell us that we are selfish, and that by gathering we are endangering other people who might believe differently.”

He insisted that the church was following all social distancing directives. He added the church was only held indoors when the weather became “too extreme” to worship outside.

“If we are such a danger to everyone, why does Holly Springs allow stores like the local Walmart to violate the same rules that we are accused of violating?” he asked. “After our Easter service, several congregants and I went there and found people without masks, people stopping and standing close together, and people acting as if the coronavirus pandemic was someone else’s problem.”

“How is it that these shoppers were not ordered to go back home and stay there?” Waldrop asked. “Does the Constitution guarantee shoppers greater rights to assemble than people of faith?”

Waldrop pointed out that mere days after the church was reduced to ashes, an appeals court granted the church’s request to worship in person.

“We recognize that not everyone shares our belief in the Word of God as revealed in the Bible. We are not offended that others don’t share our firmly held belief that gathering together to worship and to study the Bible is an essential duty and necessary to the growth of the church and its members,” he wrote. “And we will pray for the soul and peace of mind of someone who would harbor such hatred that he would take from us our cherished spiritual home.”

Waldrop said that the very essence of the church, however, is to gather together and worship God with praise.

“To suggest that such a gathering is not essential is to deny us the fundamental explanation for our existence,” he explained, and insisted that the church believes that liberty itself is a “blessing from God,” much like the United States itself.

“Those two blessings are meant to reinforce one another, and to deny the freedom to enjoy one of the blessings is to destroy the other,” he added. “Based on these premises, we will continue to worship together and to fight together for our and every American’s right to partake in the blessings of freedom.”

What else?

Waldrop previously said the church would be rebuilt on site, and he didn’t feel new construction would be an issue for the church and its community.

“We are going to keep the faith, and we’re going to keep doing what we have always done, and maybe not on this location,” Waldrop said. “I’ll get with our faithful people, and maybe we’ll rent a building or whatever we need to do for the time being.

“We have the means, so whatever it takes, that’s what we will do,” Waldrop said.

Share
Categories
Arson Covid-19 lockdown First pentecostal of holy springs Hypokrits Intelwars

Church refuses to close during lockdown, angering locals. Now it has been burned to the ground.

A Mississippi church whose leadership refused to close the church’s doors during the state’s COVID-19 lockdown is now no more.

What are the details?

An as-yet identified suspect reportedly burned the church down Wednesday morning.

The First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs was vandalized, which caused an explosion to the rear of the facility.

Authorities are investigating the vandalism as a criminal act of arson.

One message spray painted on the church property read, “I bet you stay home now you hypokrits [sic].”

Stephen Crampton, an attorney for the church, told WHBQ-TV on Thursday that the unknown vandal or vandals spray-painted the church and set it on fire.

“There was a major explosion in the back of the church that blew out the front,” Crampton said.

Crampton also said that he believed the church was targeted for “being outspoken and somewhat firm about seeking to protect their constitutional rights” by refusing to close during the pandemic.

“We’re in a time where I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s a growing hostility toward churches across the board,” he said. “And now, here are churches like First Pentecostal that are sort of stirring up the waters by being outspoken and somewhat firm about seeking to protect their constitutional rights.”

He added, “[The church has] had bad comments [sent their way] on social media. There is just a segment that takes issue with the church standing up, and the church just being the church.”

What else?

Pastor Jerry Waldrop promised that the church would be rebuilt.

“We are going to keep the faith, and we’re going to keep doing what we have always done, and maybe not on this location,” Waldrop said. “I’ll get with our faithful people, and maybe we’ll rent a building or whatever we need to do for the time being.”

He added that the church will be rebuilt on site, and said that he didn’t feel new construction would be an issue for the church and its community.

“We have the means, so whatever it takes, that’s what we will do,” Waldrop continued. “We have a tight group that’s been faithful, so whatever means are necessary, that is what I will do.

“It’s just hard to wrap your head around the idea that someone may have orchestrated this or done this,” he concluded.

Share