By Steve Neavling
The 21-year-old son of a St. Landry Parish deputy has been identified as the suspect accused of setting fire to three historic black churches in Louisiana.
“A suspect has been identified in connection with the three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and those St. Landry Parish residents affected by these despicable acts.”
Holden Matthews was turned in by his father, Deputy Roy Matthews, on Wednesday evening, CBS News reports .
The three fires have a lot in common: They broke out at historic African American church buildings in Louisiana Landry Parish at night, were located in rural areas and occurred when no one was inside.
The suspect lives in the Landry Parish.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether authorities have a motive.
The ATF and other agencies are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday to release more information.
Earlier this week, the NAACP called the church burnings “domestic terrorism” aimed at people because of their race and faith.
The first fire broke out on March 26 and burned St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to the ground. The second fire occurred Tuesday at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the third fire broke out Thursday at the 100-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.