FBI Investigating Arson Attacks on Black Churches

FBI Investigating Arson Attacks  on Black ChurchesFBI Investigating Arson Attacks  on Black Churches

A series of fires at African-American churches across the US south has prompted the FBI to investigate whether the blazes are related.

Last week six fires hit black churches in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and Tennessee. Three have been ruled arsons and the others are still under investigation, BBC reported.

“They’re being investigated to determine who is responsible and what motives are behind them,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

No one has been hurt in the fires, but many of the churches were completely destroyed.

J Britt Johnson, an FBI spokesman in Atlanta, said the agency is investigating whether the arson at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was a hate crime. He said the move was standard procedure for the agency when a church is a target of arson.

“Opening a preliminary inquiry doesn’t suggest that a hate crime has occurred, but rather ensures that it is getting additional scrutiny.”

The fires came about a week after nine black churchgoers were shot and killed in Charleston, South Carolina in what police called a racially motivated attack.

Federal investigators are tracking the Knoxville blaze and several others in an arson database to determine whether there are any trends or similarities, but none of the fires appear to be related, said Michael Knight, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tennessee.