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Man Arrested For 7 Fires in Jackson, Ms., Damaging Black Churches

A suspect was apprehended Tuesday for setting fires across Jackson, Ms., resulting in the damage of two historically Black churches, according to USA TODAY. Hinds County Sheriff's Office deputies say the arson suspect, Delvin McLaurin, was arrested after seven fires were intentionally set early Tuesday in the area of Jackson State University, a historically Black public university. McLaurin is being charged with felony malicious mischief. Officials started to receive calls about several fires starting around 2:45 a.m. Six of the seven fires were put out by 6 a.m. Epiphany Lutheran Church, one of the oldest predominately Black Lutheran churches in Mississippi, burned for more than four hours. Lloyd Caston, 73, an elder at Epiphany, was awoken around 4 a.m. by a call from a family member who lives in the church’s neighborhood. He arrived at the church to find the building “fully enflamed.” “There wasn’t nothing we could do but sit and watch,” Caston said, “It destroyed the church and everything in it." The church is 85 years old, and renovations had just been completed.

Police spokesman Sam Brown said McLaurin was in the area of the fires when they were set. The city and police department posted his image on social media. He was captured several hours later. Democratic congressional candidate Shuwaski Young called the fires acts of "terrorism," saying, "These cowardly actions invoke historical acts of terrorism when people are fighting for their right to vote and live peacefully as Americans and Mississippians. We will not be deterred and will not be intimidated. We will not allow domestic terrorists to suppress our right to vote."

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