Three of the four Southern church fires flaring all over the Southern Hemisphere in the wake of the Charleston church shooting and confederate flag debates have been ruled arson, according to BuzzFeed.
Of the Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina’s historically black church fires, only the Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. is said to be a probable hate crime. South Carolina’s church fire at Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenville still stands with no ruling.
The FBI has been in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate each occurrence, hinting at hate crime motives. The fires emerged only a few days after Dylann Roof, whom many have identified as a white terrorist, carried out a mass murder on nine members. FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson said that though there is “no reason to link them together at this point,” the motives of each fire are being investigated.
An Ohio fire followed closely behind at College Baptist Heights Church in Elyria, which is also among the investigation list. This fire completes a list of six black churches that have gone up in flames in the past week:
- June 21, College Hill Seventh Day Adventist church in Knoxville, Tennessee
- June 23, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia
- June 24, Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina
- June 24, Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee
- June 26, Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina
- June 27, College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported in the six fires.