A 911 call reporting the fire at the century-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville came in at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Reports show that there were no injuries due mainly to the fact that the fire was set when no one was in the building.
Police are investigating multiple motives, including that the fire could be a hate crime, since the fire has been ruled arson.
At a news conference pastor Carilyn Hudson said though firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze the fire had already caused extensive damage to the 111-year-old church's sanctuary.
Fire Chief Ruben Brown said Mississippi State Fire Marshal's office is executing an investigation in conjunction with The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI to determine the motive behind the fire.
Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the incident...
“a heinous, hateful and cowardly act” adding that it was “an attack on the black church and the black community.”
Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson who later revealed that they were already questioning a person of interest although there are no suspects yet. Wilson said police are investigating whether the fire was intended to intimidate voters, but he said it was too soon to tell...
"We will use all resources to determine the cause in this case,"
The FBI told The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper, that it is aware of the situation and is investigating to...
“determine if any civil rights crimes were committed.”
An $11,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and prosecution.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help the church rebuild had garnered more than 2,300 donations totaling $87,000 by Wednesday evening, far surpassing a $10,000 goal.
Here are pictures of the damage done by the arsonists...