Image source: YouTube screenshot (left); Hinds County Sheriff's Office (right)
© 2023 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Two historically black churches in Jackson, Mississippi, were deliberately set on fire early Tuesday morning — Election Day — authorities told USA Today.
There were five additional suspected arson cases in the city — and all seven occurred in the area of Jackson State University, a historically black public university, the paper said.
'We will not allow domestic terrorists to suppress our right to vote'
Mississippi Democrat congressional candidate Shuwaski Young released a statement early Tuesday morning calling the fires acts of "terrorism," USA Today reported.
\u201cMy statement on the church burning in Jackson, Mississippi on #ElectionDay. Go VOTE Mississippi. Just Go VOTE.\u201d— Shuwaski Young for Congress (@Shuwaski Young for Congress) 1667915682
"This morning several churches were burned in Jackson, Mississippi on Election Day," the statement reads. "These cowardly actions invoke historical acts of terrorism when people are fighting for their right to vote and live peacefully as Americans and Mississippians. We will not be deterred and will not be intimidated. We will not allow domestic terrorists to suppress our right to vote. I ask all Mississippians to GO VOTE regardless of this decades-old intimidation tactic to suppress our votes today. Just go VOTE."
Suspect Delvin McLaurin was arrested Tuesday, USA Today said. The Hinds County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrested McLaurin in the evening after a tip from citizens in Terry near the Hinds-Copiah County line. Authorities said McLaurin will be transferred to the Jackson Police Department for further questioning.
Image source: Hinds County Sheriff's Office
A Jackson Police Department spokesperson said McLaurin is being charged with felony malicious mischief, USA Today reported, adding that the FBI is questioning him and McLaurin may face additional charges.
Officials began receiving calls about several fires starting around 2:45 a.m., the paper reported, adding that Jackson Police spokesman Sam Brown said McLaurin was in the area of the fires during the hours they were set.
House of cards tumbles
Young wasn't alone in his "suppress our right to vote" post following the suspected arsons. Other commenters underneath his post concurred — and took things a lot further:
- "The layers of racist symbolism associated with burning churches… in Mississippi… on Election Day. When will this country wake up? This makes me incredibly sad…" one commenter added. "I’m guessing the terrorist/arsonist who did this thinks they’re a Christian and a patriot."
- "... this what the SCLC fought against, the same white-hooded cowards are a product of 45's GOP, the most racist, corrupt treasonous administration in White House, anti-[Semitism], racism is their platform," another user said. "This act today says it all."
- "This is beyond hideous. The hypocrisy is off the charts, too," another commenter said. "The burning was probably carried out by people who profess to be Christians."
- "Domestic white supremacist terrorists will not suppress Democratic voters from voting!" another commenter declared. "But Still, Like Air We Rise ..."
\u201c@forpetessakeny @shuwaskiyoung Yeah, mystery huh?\u201d— Shuwaski Young for Congress (@Shuwaski Young for Congress) 1667915682
However, one commenter couldn't help pushing back against Young in light of McLaurin's arrest, saying "…except the suspect is a black man. You can stop the racial narrative now."
Incidentally, Young lost his congressional bid to incumbent Republican Michael Guest, the Clarion Ledger reported, adding that Guest was ahead of Young by more than 40 points with 94% of the votes in Wednesday.
The rest of the story
USA Today said fires were reported at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, Epiphany Lutheran Church, the baseball field at Jackson State, a gas station, a location at Central Street and Dalton, a location in the 1100 block of Pascagoula St., and a location at Terry Road and Cherry Street.
Epiphany Lutheran, one of the oldest predominately black Lutheran churches in Mississippi, burned for more than four hours before the fire was put out, USA Today said.
Lloyd Caston, 73, an elder at Epiphany, was awakened around 4 a.m. by a call from a family member who lives in the neighborhood where the church is located, the paper said. Caston then headed to the church around 4:30 a.m. to find the building “fully enflamed," USA Today reported.
“I was hurt,” Caston told the paper of his emotions upon seeing his church on fire, adding that "it destroyed the church and everything in it."
Epiphany is 85 years old, USA Today reported, adding that renovations to the building’s interior were completed in March.
Fire also damaged Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, the paper said.
"We can't always understand why people do evil, but we know that ... it's our job to overcome evil with good. That's why we're committed to continue to help this community," Ervin Ricks, Greater Bethlehem's communications director, told WAPT-TV .
Jackson officials did not connect the fires with an attempt to affect Tuesday's election, USA Today reported.
Arrest Made In String Of Jackson, Mississippi, Arsonsyoutu.be
Want to leave a tip?
We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.