Arrest made in fires at three black churches in Louisiana

The son of a deputy sheriff is in custody in connection to a string of fires over 10 days at three black churches in Louisiana, CBS News’ Pat Milton reports. The three historically black churches are just a few miles apart in St. Landry Parish.

There will be a news conference Thursday morning with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) and Gov. John Bel Edwards will also be in attendance, CBS Baton Rouge affiliate WAFB reports. There were no more details about the suspect or what charges he could face.

The fires began on March 26, when St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre burned to the ground. St. Mary’s pastor Kyle Sylvester told CBS News’ Omar Villafranca that “we can’t let this setback stop us from doing what God initially called us to do.”

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On April 2, Greater Union Baptist burned from the roof to the pews. And Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas burned on April 4.


Greater Union Baptist Pastor Harry Richard, whose grandfather helped start the church more than 100 years ago, told CBS News the damage is personal.

“He left a legacy for me and I was trying to fulfill that to the best of my ability,” he said.

Officials said last week they had not determined what caused the fires.

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