While Everyone Was Getting Ready to Vote, 1 Person Made It His Goal to Burn Everything Down

A few hours before the polls opened on Election Day, an arsonist set several fires in Jackson, Mississippi.

Calls started coming in around 2:45 Tuesday regarding fires in the area, according to WAPT-TV in Jackson.

Two of the fires targeted predominately black churches — Greater Bethlehem Temple Church and Epiphany Church — while others were on or near the campus of historically black Jackson State University.

Many of the fire stations that responded to the calls were also polling stations, according to the New York Post.

A suspect — 23-year-old Devin McLaurin — was arrested Tuesday evening, the Jackson Police Department said.

He was arrested in the town of Terry with the assistance of the Hinds County sheriff’s deputies, according to the Jackson Police Department.

McLaurin is facing arson charges.

A motive had not been disclosed as of Wednesday morning.

All the fires were out by about 6 a.m. Tuesday except for Epiphany Church, which was the worst of the seven blazes.

“I’ve been here for 30 years. This is a major occurrence,” Jackson Fire Department Assistant Chief Patrick Armon said, according to WAPT.

He said about a third of the department was battling the fires.

Epiphany elder Lloyd Caston, 73, said he found out about the fire at the church from a member of his family around 4 a.m. By the time he got there, the church was engulfed in flames.

“There wasn’t nothing we could do but sit and watch. That was it,” Caston said, according to WAPT.

“It destroyed the church and everything in it,” he said.

The congregation had just renovated the inside of the church in March.

Ervin Ricks, communication director for Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, said he believed the fire at his church was deliberately set.

“[Someone] actually broke into the church and got in and started the fire that way,” he said.

The Mississippi State Fire Marshall’s Office will assist with investigating the fires, according to WLBT-TV in Jackson.

Since Jackson State University is state-owned property, the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office will also investigate the fire there.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.