Tag Archives: arson

UPDATE 3-At least 25 killed in 'horrendous' arson attack on bar in Mexico

UPDATE 3-At least 25 killed in 'horrendous' arson attack on bar in MexicoAt least 25 people were killed in an arson attack by suspected gang members on a bar in the southeastern Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos late on Tuesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, in a fresh blow to his efforts to curb violence. Calling the attack “horrendous,” Lopez Obrador told a regular morning news conference on Wednesday that the deaths occurred after the suspected gangsters closed the emergency exits of the bar in Coatzacoalcos and set fire to it. Lopez Obrador said 25 people had died so far and that initial investigations indicated that some suspects behind the attack had been in custody this year and were later released.



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Man who carried gas cans into NY cathedral charged with attempted arson

Man who carried gas cans into NY cathedral charged with attempted arsonWednesday’s incident occurred two days after a massive fire severely damaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, causing global shock and sorrow. A New York City Police Department official said Marc Lamparello, a New Jersey resident, was charged with second-degree attempted arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and trespassing after he entered the Roman Catholic cathedral in midtown Manhattan just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday and was confronted by a security guard. As Lamparello turned to leave the cathedral, police said, gasoline spilled from the cans he was carrying, causing cathedral staff to alert police officers stationed outside the church.



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Louisiana church fires: Police arrest man over suspected arson attacks on black churches

Louisiana church fires: Police arrest man over suspected arson attacks on black churchesPolice have arrested a man suspected of setting fire to three predominately black churches in a southern Louisiana parish, a federal prosecutor said on Wednesday."A suspect has been identified in connection with three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody," David Joseph, the US Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, said in a statement.The suspect's name was not released.The sheriff's office in St. Landry Parish where the fires occurred declined to comment and referred questions to the fire marshal's office.Ashley Rodrigue, spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal's Office, said there will be an announcement regarding the case at a press conference on Thursday attended by Governor John Bel Edwards and law enforcement officials.Authorities said this month they found suspicious "patterns" among fires that burned down three churches between 26 March and 4 April in the parish, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of New Orleans.The fires destroyed St. Mary Baptist Church in the community of Port Barre, and Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas, the seat of the parish, the Louisiana equivalent to a county.All the churches have mostly black congregants, raising authorities' suspicion that the fires could have been racially motivated hate crimes. (Reporting by Rich McKay, additional reporting by Gabriella Borter; editing by Darren Schuettler)Reuters



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US cop's son arrested in arson of three black churches

US cop's son arrested in arson of three black churchesThe white son of a Louisiana police officer has been arrested and accused of burning down historically black churches in the southern US state, authorities announced Thursday. Holden Matthews is charged with three counts of arson on a religious building for allegedly burning down three rural churches over a 10-day period beginning in late March. Authorities said they were not ready to discuss the motive for the attacks, but a federal hate crimes investigation was ongoing.



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‘Evil Act’: Holden Matthews Charged With Arson of 3 Black Louisiana Churches

‘Evil Act’: Holden Matthews Charged With Arson of 3 Black Louisiana ChurchesREUTERSLouisiana Gov. Bel Edwards on Thursday described the three fires that destroyed predominantly black churches in rural Louisiana as an “evil act” committed by the son of a sheriff’s deputy.Holden Matthews was arrested Wednesday on three counts of simple arson for fires that on destroyed the churches in St. Landry Parish over  ten days. The fires were set on March 26, April 2, and April 4, and destroyed St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, respectively. Matthews, 21, was booked into jail Wednesday evening.Louisiana State Fire Marshal “Butch” Browning, at a Thursday morning press conference, called the fires “an attack on our God and our religion.”“In my career, I have never seen such a spiritual mission that has come home so quickly,” said Browning, who noted that Matthews’ arrest was quick in part because “we felt that other crimes were imminent.”FBI agent Eric J. Rommal, also at the press conference, said the bureau is investigating whether the crimes were “bias-motivated.”“Right now we are just making sure we gather all the facts,” he said, when pressed on the issue. A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Matthews showed he was active in pagan and black metal pages, and that he commented on two memes about far-right former neo-Nazi metal musician Varg Vikernes, who served 15 years in prison for killing a fellow metal musician and burning churches in Norway. The comments revealed little other than that they indicated his familiarity with the figure.The pagan circles Matthews and Vikernes frequented can be popular with neo-Nazis. Matthews frequently posted about pagan beliefs, and recently uploaded a picture of a gun and a knife with the caption “I carry this…..maybe not legally but I only truly follow the law of Odin….. which says as you said,arm yourself…… Odins advice> modern law.” Odin is a pagan Norse god.One of the pagan pages Matthews was active on specifically forbade racism and “nazi stuff.” Matthews also appeared aware of the religion's white supremacist associations. In one post, a group member noted that a drawing of a pagan figure had a swastika-like design on his belt. “well yea the belt gives him extra strength and power…..white power lmao jk jk I had to,” Matthews wrote.While Gov. Edwards said he didn’t know what Matthews’s alleged motive was,  it cannot be justified or rationalized. It was an evil act.”“Let’s pray for Mr. Matthews and his family," Edwards added, and the audience responded with a resounding “yes.”Pastor Gerald Toussaint, of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, said: “We’ve suffered, but I think it has a higher cause.”“Even though we’ve lost our church—our building, our building—look who’s been brought together,” Toussaint said. “Our country has to find out that the God we serve does not look on the outside. He sees the heart.”The fires Matthews is apparently suspected of setting occurred at St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on March 26, April 2, and April 4, respectively. Another “intentionally set” fire was also reported on April 7 at the predominantly white Vivian United Pentecostal Church a few hours away.“There certainly is a commonality, and whether that leads to a person or persons or groups, we just don’t know,” State Fire Marshal H. Browning said in a news conference last week. The FBI and ATF have also investigated the fires.Rev. Gerald Toussaint, pastor at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, told the New York Times the only parts left of the church were a brick wall and a corridor.“I’m trying to find out who did it, why they did it, did it have anything to do with me,” Toussaint said. “I don’t know none of this.”St. Landry Parish, reportedly a rural area in Louisiana, is 41 percent black and 56 percent white. Toussaint told the newspaper relations between the races were good on the whole.On Monday, NAACP president Derrick Johnson called the fires evidence of “domestic terrorism” targeting people of color and their religions.“The spike in church burnings in the Southern states is a reflection of emboldened racial rhetoric and tension spreading across the country," he said in a statement. “But this is nothing new. For decades, African-American churches have served as the epicenter of survival and a symbol of hope for many in the African-American community. As a consequence, these houses of faith have historically been targets of violence.”Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) called the apparent arsons an “affront against God himself and his children.”“If you participated in this, you have succumbed to evil,” Higgins said, according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “You will be caught. You will be arrested. You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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Israel says strikes two Hamas posts after arson balloons

Israel says strikes two Hamas posts after arson balloonsIsrael’s army said it struck two Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after balloons carried an explosive device over the border fence, but no injuries were reported. The Gaza border has been relatively calm in recent weeks after a deal in which Israel allowed Qatar to provide millions of dollars in aid for fuel and salaries in the blockaded enclave. “Earlier today, an explosive device attached to multiple balloons was launched on a model airplane from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” an Israeli army statement said.



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Colts Neck Fire: Brother Charged With Arson, More Details Emerge About Quadruple Homicide

Colts Neck Fire: Brother Charged With Arson, More Details Emerge About Quadruple HomicideThe brother of the man who was found dead outside his Colts Neck home yesterday has been charged with aggravated arson. Paul J. Caneiro, 51, was arrested and placed into custody at Monmouth County jail for attempting to burn down his own house in Ocean Township, New Jersey. According to USA Today, Paul Caneiro allegedly tried to burn down his Tilton Drive home “using gasoline and igniting the gasoline causing the residence to catch fire while his wife and two daughters were inside.” None of his family were reported injured as a result of the blaze.



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Swedish PM condemns attempted arson attack at synagogue as three arrested

Swedish PM condemns attempted arson attack at synagogue as three arrestedThree people were arrested early on Sunday after an attempted arson attack at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, prosecutors said. There were no reports of injuries and the fire did not reach the synagogue or an adjacent meeting house where Jewish youths had gathered when the attack took place late on Saturday, Swedish media reported. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement he was outraged by the attack.



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Arson caused fire at Kenyan school that killed nine girls: minister

Arson caused fire at Kenyan school that killed nine girls: ministerBy John Ndiso and Katharine Houreld NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s education minister said on Monday that arson was to blame for a weekend fire that killed nine pupils at a girls’ boarding school and that there had been similar attacks on other schools around the country. More than 120 schools around the country were set on fire last year, according to research by a Canadian professor. Minister Fred Matiang’i said some arson attacks had been related to fights over staff appointments in schools, where senior positions can bring financial rewards.



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Florida lawyer’s pants burst into flames while defending client against arson charges

Florida lawyer’s pants burst into flames while defending client against arson charges

In a story that quite honestly could only come out of Florida, a Miami defense lawyer was defending his client against arson charges when his pants started on fire. The culprit wasn't his client, but his e-cigarette which was resting in his pocket at the time. Somehow, this isn't a joke.

Stephen Gutierrez, a defense attorney based out of Miami, was defending 48-year-old Claudy Charles at the time. Charles has been accused of setting his car on fire in order to intentionally destroy the vehicle, but he and Gutierrez claim that the vehicle started on fire all by itself. Gutierrez was beginning his closing argument when the battery of his vaping device combusted in his pocket, and local news reports describe smoke "billowing out" of his pants as he fled the courtroom in a panic.

If you're thinking that this all sounds a little too convenient to be an accident, you're not alone. Local law enforcement is investigating the incident and police have reportedly confiscated the faulty device that the lawyer says blew up of its own accord. Gutierrez was not harmed by the fiery battery but insists it was not planned or staged.

It wouldn't exactly be the first time an e-cigarette or vaping device went nuclear in someone's pocket, so it's certainly plausible that it was simply a matter of perfect timing that the battery combusted during an arson case. That said, if it does indeed prove to be a complete accident, it is one heck of a coincidence.



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