Exactly a week after a gunman massacred nine people at a historic Black church in South Carolina, police are investigating a deliberate fire that destroyed a predominantly Black church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to NBC, Charlotte fire officials have officially ruled the blaze at Briar Creek Baptist Church arson, but police are investigating if the fire was a hate crime. Although officials have no leads on the motivation behind the blaze, they have not yet ruled out the possibility of hate, especially since the crime occurred a week to the day of the Charleston Mother Emanuel AME church shooting.
Pastor Mannix Kinsey said the church’s congregation has already forgiven the culprit. “Buildings can be repaired, they can be built over,” Kinsey told NBC affiliate WCNC. “This is the opportunity for God to touch the hearts of individuals.”
No civilians were injured in the fire, though the Washington Post reports that two firefighters suffered minor heat-related injuries. The blaze, which destroyed the church’s main building, caused an estimated $250,000 in damages.
The Briar Creek Baptist Church houses a congregation of about 100 people. Police are continuing their investigation.
20 Pictures That Show The Powerful Resilience Of Charleston's Mother Emanuel AME Church
1. Mother Emanuel AME Church held its first service since the shooting death of nine African-American church members on June 17.Source:Alex Colby 1 of 20
2. People line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 2 of 20
3. Two children wait to enter the Emanuel AME Church June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 3 of 20
4. A member of the church is seen outside of Emanuel AME before its first service since the Charleston shooting.Source:Getty 4 of 20
5. A Charleston County sheriff's deputy checks bags as people line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 5 of 20
6. Gloria Moore watches the church as parishioners take their seats at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 6 of 20
7. A woman prays as she attends the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 7 of 20
8. People pray and listen to the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 8 of 20
9. Parishioners sit at Emanuel AME Church four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others.Source:Getty 9 of 20
10. The Rev. Norvel Goff, right, prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.Source:Getty 10 of 20
11. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., embraces U.S. Sen Tim Scott, R-S.C., at Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 11 of 20
12. A parishioner prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 12 of 20
13. The congregation departs following Sunday services at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 13 of 20
14. A family is seen leaving Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.Source:Getty 14 of 20
15. People embrace as they depart the Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.Source:Getty 15 of 20
16. Church members comfort one another after Emanuel's first service since the Charleston shooting.Source:Alex Colby 16 of 20
17. Church members comfort one another outside of Emanuel.Source:Alex Colby 17 of 20
18. A mother and son surround a memorial for the nine church members killed during the Charleston shooting.Source:Alex Colby 18 of 20
19. Charleston natives comfort each other during the church's first service since the shooting on June 17.Source:Alex Colby 19 of 20
20. Activist DeRay McKesson is seen outside of Emanuel AME church.Source:Alex Colby 20 of 20
Police: Arsonist Deliberately Set Black Church In North Carolina Ablaze was originally published on newsone.com