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Somebody Is Torching Churches Around St. Louis

6 black churches set on fire in 10 days
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2015 4:12 AM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2015 6:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Six black churches have been torched in the St. Louis area since Oct. 8 and police say they don't have a suspect—or a motive. "We believe that this fire-setting activity is meant to send a message," the St. Louis Police and Fire departments and the ATF said in a joint statement, per CNN. St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby tells the AP that the possibility of a hate crime—for religious reasons, racial reasons, or both—is "part of the dynamic" of the investigation. Investigators say that the blazes all took place within a few miles of each other and in each case, an exterior door was set on fire. Nobody has been injured, though one church was almost completely destroyed.

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Church leaders say that they're focusing on togetherness and forgiveness. "This is a spiritually sick person," the Rev. David Triggs tells the AP. "This is a sin issue. It's not a race issue." After Triggs' house of worship, the New Life Missionary Baptist Church, was set on fire on Saturday, parishioners gathered for a service on its front lawn the next day, Fox 2 reports. The ATF and the St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arsonist, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (In South Carolina, a church burned by the KKK in 1995 went up in flames again in July.)

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