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St. Louis Police Suspect Hate Crime In Connection To Church Fires

Between Oct. 8 and Oct. 22, seven fires were set at predominantly African-American churches in the St. Louis area. In connection with two of the seven fires, 35-year-old David Lopez Jackson was charged.

The churches were Ebenezer Lutheran Church and New Life Missionary Baptist Church. Jackson is also a suspect in the investigation into the other five fires — two in the nearby town of Jennings, Missouri, and three in St. Louis.

A hate-crime investigation was launched following the fires to determine if they were racially or religiously motivated. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said “There appears to be no indication of a hate crime or sign [that] ... any one particular Christian denomination or ethnic group was being targeted."

Msgr. Robert Gettinger of St. Augustine Catholic Church said, “There was a fear in a lot of people, so you're certainly relieved. Hopefully he'll get some kind of help."

Photo: SPL Center

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