Black College Set On Fire In Suspected Arson

( Law enforcement arrested a suspect in connection to seven fires that were set in Jackson, Mississippi early Tuesday, in which at least two churches were set ablaze, including one that was burned to the ground.

The suspect also set fire to the fences surrounding the baseball practice field at Jackson State University. No injuries were reported.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office announced that they had arrested 23-year-old Devin McLaurin in connection to the arsons. There was no information about McLaurin’s motive.

McLaurin, who was charged with six counts of arson and one count of felony malicious mischief, was also being questioned by the FBI and may face additional charges as well.

Officials began receiving calls about several fires around 2:45 am Tuesday. By six in the morning, six of the seven fires had been put out.

Epiphany Lutheran Church, one of the oldest black Lutheran churches in Mississippi, burned for over four hours before firefighters extinguished the blaze.

According to Lloyd Caston, an elder at the church, he was woken up around 4:00 am by a call from a family member who lives near the church. By the time Caston arrived at the church a half hour later, firefighters were on the scene and the building was “fully enflamed.”

The 85-year-old church had recently undergone renovations to the interior that were completed in March. According to Caston, everything had been destroyed by Tuesday’s fire.

Devin McLaurin, who is black, was denied bond on his six arson charges and given a $25,000 bond on the malicious mischief charge. The charges included four first-degree arson charges for burning dwellings and two counts of arson for burning other structures. He is currently being held at the Hinds County Detention Center.