Man Charged with Church Fires

This+booking+image+released+by+the+Louisiana+Office+of+State+Fire+Marshal+shows+Holden+Matthews%2C+21%2C+who+was+arrested+Thursday%2C+April+11%2C+2019%2C+in+connection+with+suspicious+fires+at+three+historic+black+churches+in+southern+Louisiana.+Matthews+faces+three+counts+of+simple+arson+of+a+religious+building+on+the+state+charges.+Federal+investigators+also+were+looking+into+whether+hate+motivated+the+fires.+%28Louisiana+Office+of+State+Fire+Marshal+via+AP%29
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Man Charged with Church Fires

This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Thursday, April 11, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana. Matthews faces three counts of simple arson of a religious building on the state charges. Federal investigators also were looking into whether hate motivated the fires. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal via AP)

This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Thursday, April 11, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana. Matthews faces three counts of simple arson of a religious building on the state charges. Federal investigators also were looking into whether hate motivated the fires. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal via AP)

AP

This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Thursday, April 11, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana. Matthews faces three counts of simple arson of a religious building on the state charges. Federal investigators also were looking into whether hate motivated the fires. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal via AP)

AP

AP

This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Thursday, April 11, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana. Matthews faces three counts of simple arson of a religious building on the state charges. Federal investigators also were looking into whether hate motivated the fires. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal via AP)

Amber Tingue, Contributor

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On April 11th, 2019, a man was charged and arrested for setting fire to three churches. This man, by the name of Holden Matthews, is the son of a deputy in Louisiana where he set the churches on fire. His father had no acknowledgement of the fires and was distraught to hear the news that his son had been charged; he has been charged with three counts of ‘arson of a religious building’.

These churches all had something in common; they were primarily attended by African-American people. They also each were in front of a little cemetery and now, in that cemetery, also rests the remains of these religious buildings. The churches were all historic buildings as they were over 100 years old. These burnings occurred between March 26th and April 4th. There was also another church that was set on fire during the same time period, however, authorities believe the three fires are not related to this one.

The head pastors of the churches had something to say about these fires. Harry Richard, the pastor of the second fire at Greater Union Baptist Church comments, “This takes a lot of the pressure off us” (Time). As he is relieved to know that the criminal has been caught, Reverend Freddie Jack from the Seventh District Mission Baptist Association, still has some concerns: “I would like to know whether he was working alone or not. We can’t let our guard down” (Time). He believes that being cautious is the safe route as Holden Matthews may have had people working with him. These occurrences have also brought concern to the community, and they speak to a bigger concern of the nation as a whole. The governor of Louisiana, John Bell Edwards, spoke out saying, “It’s especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear…. These were evil acts. Hate has no place in Louisiana” (The Guardian). Just over a century ago, racism was rampant throughout the country and even is present today. This nefarious hate-crime forces this underlying issue of racism to arise.

Holden Matthews, the perpetrator, was seen using his card to buy a gas can and a lighter the day before the fire. Video footage spotted a truck similar to his outside the churches just before the fires. Luckily, the churches were empty at the time of the fires and no persons were physically harmed due to the fires. Matthews faces years in jail for these crimes he has committed.

 

 

Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/11/louisiana-church-fires-suspect-arrested

http://time.com/5568701/holden-matthews-charged-fire-black-churches-louisiana/

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Amber Tingue, Contributor

My name is Amber and no one takes me seriously. I am also a victim to playful and loving bullying by Rhys and Caiden. (They sometimes apologize so it's...

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