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Police Arrest Man In Connection With Recent St. Louis Church Fires

Members of the St. Louis Fire Department inspect the outside of the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis on Oct. 20, three days after a fire was intentionally set. On Oct. 30, a man was charged in connection with setting the fire.

A 35-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with a pair of recent church fires in and around St. Louis.

David Lopez Jackson was charged Friday with two counts of second-degree arson, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His bail was set at $75,000.

Chief Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the investigation was ongoing, and that Jackson was a suspect in the other five fires that were set earlier this month.

More from the Post-Dispatch:

He is specifically charged with setting fires at the New Life Missionary Baptist Church, 4569 Plover Avenue, and Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1011 Theobald Street, both in St. Louis.

He also is reported to be suspected of trying to burn a relative's home along the 5300 block of Wilborn in Jennings, a source said. Police responded to a call for an attempted arson there shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

There was speculation the burning of the churches were racially motivated, according to previous reports, as six of the seven recent church fires were in predominately African American neighborhoods. Jackson is black.

The Post-Dispatch spoke with a priest of one of the burned churches, and their story has more from the church communities and their recovery process:

The Rev. Robert Gettinger, of St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1371 Hamilton Avenue, said news of an arrest is a relief.

"We pray for the person who has done this. It seems to be mentally off balance behavior," Gettinger said.

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