A church in Greenville, Mississippi was set on fire Tuesday night and “Vote Trump” was found along the side of it. The notice is in reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
At a press conference captured by a Delta Daily News reporter, Mayor Errick Simmons revealed officials showed up to the burning Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church at 9:16 p.m. Nov. 1. Simmons said local, state and federal authorities were investigating the “hateful and cowardly act” as a likely hate crime.
“This act is a direct assault on people’s right to freely worship,” he said. “This matter is being investigated with all deliberate speed and we will not rest until the culprit is found and fully prosecuted.”
Simmons later added he saw the incident as an “attack on the Black church, the Black community.”
Fire Ruben Brown shared the origin and cause of the fire are currently under investigation. While some samples were recovered from the scene last night, he noted “a more thorough investigation” will occur later.
As for suspects, Police Chief Delando Wilson stated none have been found yet, but they are speaking with a person of interest. There is no known security footage of the potential vandals.
When asked about his response to citizens concerned about the town’s racial division, Simmons declared showing admiration is the solution to hate.
“We must show love, respect and dignity to each other.”
Still, he noted local authorities discovered the word “n—–” written on a boat ramp back in September. Town employees later painted over the epithet.
But the national news coverage of Hopewell yesterday resulted in some good. On Nov. 2, a GoFundMe account was established to help the church rebuild, something pastor Carolyn Hudson told reporters her congregation of 200 planned to do.
In a matter of four hours, it more than doubled its $10,000 goal, ultimately raising over $21,000.
However, after the presidential election ends next week, more acts of terrorism could occur.
According to Raw Story, Georgia-based Three Percent Security Force is mobilizing should Hillary Clinton win over voters Nov. 8. The militia stated if civil strife erupts, they’ll have their guns with them in the days after polls close.
“This is the last chance to save America from ruin,” Chris Hill, leader of the Georgia TPSF branch said. “We’ve building up for this, just like the Marines. We are going to really train harder and try to increase our operational capabilities in the event that this is the day that we hoped would never come.”