Over the weekend, several catholic churches in California and Florida were vandalized and burned. Now, police are investigating whether or not those crimes are linked to recent protests.
In Florida, Steven Anthony Shields, 24, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, arson, and more after he drove his vehicle into the Queen of Peace Catholic Church as it was beginning its morning Mass on Saturday. Marion County Sheriff’s Office reports that Shields poured gasoline in the foyer and set the Church on fire before driving off.
On the same day of the Florida fire, another fire took place in California. The San Gabriel church, a nearly 250-year-old Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was on fire. According to Fox News, while the Church was undergoing renovations in preparation for the upcoming 250th anniversary, the building caught fire around 4 a.m.
The cause of the blaze is currently under investigation.
To the Fox 11 news outlet, Captain Antonio Negrete of the San Gabriel Fire Department said:
“This will be another box that they’re going to check off. It’s a tragic loss for our city. It’s our city identifier.”
Several people believe the fires could be in connection with recent protests. After the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, killed by police officers, protestors began calling for the removal of statues of Confederate symbols and leaders, former U.S. presidents, and abolitionists.
Others are outraged over the “lack of mainstream coverage of the weekend” fires.
Mike Cernovich, a controversial right-leaning author, inquired as to why the blazes have not been covered more by the media.
“Churches are being burned to the ground. What? Why is this not the biggest story of the day.”
California pastor and worship leader, Sean Feucht, added:
“Where’s the outrage?”