A 35-year-old black St. Louis man has been charged with starting fires at two predominantly African-American churches earlier this month. On Friday David Lopez Jackson was charged 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 fires 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 of the churches are predominantly black, one is racially mixed and one is mostly white. The fires started a hate-crime investigation based on either racial or religious motives.
However the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says there is no indication a hate crime occurred.
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