Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com
Arsonists set fire to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss., and wrote “Vote Trump” on the side wall of the burned out building.
The fire was discovered Tuesday night, Nov. 1, and Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. told a news conference that the blaze was deliberately set.
“Samples and evidence have been collected from inside the church and are being analyzed to determine the accelerant or ignition source,” Brown said.
Police Chief Delando Wilson said his department is investigating the fire as a hate crime. “We feel that the quote on the church is intimidating,” he added.
The 111-year-old church’s red brick walls are still standing, but the pulpit and pews are charred black, and soot stains the brick above and next to some windows. Brown estimated that it was ‘80 percent destroyed.’
Black churches have long been a base of social activism, making them targets of bombing by white supremacists. The FBI’s Jackson Division is investigating the fire to determine if civil rights crimes were committed.
Greenville, a town of 33,000, is 100 miles northwest of Jackson, Miss., the state capital.