ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 35-year-old black St. Louis man has been charged with starting fires at two predominantly African-American churches earlier this month.
David Lopez Jackson was charged Friday in St. Louis Circuit Court with two counts of second-degree arson in the Oct. 17 fires at Ebenezer Lutheran Church and New Life Missionary Baptist Church.
The blazes were among seven in the St. Louis area between Oct. 8 and Oct. 22. Five were in St. Louis and two were in nearby Jennings, all within a few miles of each other. Five are predominantly black, one is racially mixed and one is mostly white.
The fires spurred a hate-crime investigation based on either racial or religious motives. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says there is no indication a hate crime occurred.
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(Photo: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department via AP)