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Press Release

Statement by Justice Department Spokesperson on Recent Church Fires Across Five States

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The following statement is attributable to Justice Department spokesperson Melanie Newman regarding recent church fires across five states:

“The federal law enforcement team of ATF, FBI, the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are actively investigating several church fires across five states that have occurred over the past two weeks.  Preliminary investigations indicate that two of the fires were started by natural causes and one was the result of an electrical fire.  All of the fires remain under active investigation and federal law enforcement continues to work to determine the cause of all of the fires.  To date the investigations have not revealed any potential links between the fires.

“If in fact there is evidence to support hate crime charges in any one of these cases, the FBI, in coordination with the ATF and local authorities, will work closely with the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to bring those forward.”

Updated May 17, 2016

Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 15-847