A suspect is in custody after a string of recent fires that plagued historically black churches in Louisiana.
Holden Matthews, 21, the son of a St. Landry Parish Deputy has been charged with three counts of arson of a religious building in Louisiana.
Despite rumors, Matthews’ father did not turn his son in.
“I’m very proud of the investigative effort that has lead to this arrest. I’m prayerful that we can close this horrific chapter and begin to heal. I’m especially uplifted by the Christian Community right now. God bless us one and all,” Congressman Clay Higgins said in a statement to local affiliate KATC.
“I am so proud of the team work that has returned a sense of security to this community by determining a cause for these fires and putting the person responsible for them behind bars,” State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said. “I, and all of the investigators involved in this, have been emotionally committed to this case, not only because of the significance of these churches, but also the threat of additional fires. This outcome goes to show what happens when well-oiled public safety partnerships pay dividends. I can never give total condolences to these church communities for the losses of their places of worship. However, I hope this begins to help their healing.”
The first fire occurred on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church located in Port Barre. The second took place on April 2 at Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas. The third fire occurred two days later at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.