Son Of Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested In Fires Of Historically Black Churches In Louisiana

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.

 

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Deputy Died From Friendly Fire In California Bar Gun Battle

(Ventura County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy who died in a mass shooting at a Southern California bar was shot five times by a gunman who massacred 11 others, but the officer was killed by friendly fire, authorities said Friday.

Sgt. Ron Helus was fatally shot in the heart by a California highway patrolman who had joined him in a firefight with the gunman at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said.

“It was just a tragic detail that unfolded so rapidly, in my view it was unavoidable,” Ayub said. “They were ambushed almost immediately.”

Ayub said the fatal shot did not diminish the heroism shown by the officers. The CHP officer was not identified, but is a 9-year veteran of the force who is on leave.

Investigators did not offer any more insight into what drove Ian David Long, 28, to storm the country and western bar at an event for college students.

Long took his own life after the gun battle with the two officers.

Long threw smoke grenades into the group of revelers, obstructing what they could see, before he opened fire.

Then he used a flashlight with a laser sight attached to his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol as he fired.

Panicked revelers smashed windows to flee, dived under tables and piled on top of each other in an effort to dodge the gunfire.

The first two officers to arrive at the scene, Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer, saw at least 100 people fleeing the bar.

Long had gotten into a tactical position and fired on them when they entered, killing Helus. The 29-year veteran of the department was close to retirement.

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