Officer’s Son Arrested Over Black Church Fires

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Armani Adames

The son of a local police deputy has been arrested as the suspect in three fires at black churches in Southern Louisiana. 21-year-old Holden Matthews was arrested on Wednesday, although the burnings did not result in any deaths or injuries.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning told reporters on Thursday that the suspect has been charged with three counts of arson on religious buildings, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to BBC news.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the church burnings incidents “domestic terrorism” against people of color.

The fires happened at St. Mary Baptist Church, the Greater Union Baptist Church and the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, all in the same community 30 minutes north of Lafayette, Louisiana. The fires happened on March 26, April 2, and April 4.

Officials said that they have no reason to believe that the fires are related to another incident of a church fire on March 31 at a white church a few hours away from the community.

Maddie Pedley, a senior at Lakewood High School says, “These acts of terrorism and racism must stop. What was this man’s point? Him being an officer’s son makes it ten times worse. This man is evil and I’m so glad that he is caught. These things are happening all around the world, what are we going to do to stop this? It has to be stopped and it cannot go on. If this were to happen at my church that I go to, which is mixed, I wouldn’t know what to do.”