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Suspect under arrest for north St. Louis church fires

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office charged a 35-year-old local man in connection with two of seven church arsons in the St. Louis area.

David Lopez Jackson was charged with two counts of second-degree arson. Jackson is accused of setting fires at New Life Missionary Baptist Church and Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Both places of worship are in St. Louis City.

According to prosecutors, evidence at both scenes links Jackson to the fires. Surveillance video allegedly shows Jackson's car at the scene of the New Life Missionary fire as well. When questioned by police, Jackson confirmed the car belonged to him and that he was the only one using it. Police also found a gas canister and thermos in the vehicle. The canister had a small amount of gasoline still inside and the thermos smelled of gasoline.

The first fire was set on October 8, 2015 at Bethel Non-Denominational Church in Jennings, with six additional fires in the days following. All of the fires originated at the exterior door of each church and were set at a time when the church was empty.

The St. Louis Fire Department believes that the fire activity was meant to send a message.

David Lopez Jackson

David Lopez Jackson

Jackson remains jailed on $75,000 cash-only bond.

Church fires:

  • Fire #1: 10/8/15 at Bethel Non-Denominational Church, - Jennings, MO
  • Fire #2: 10/10/15 at New North Side Baptist Church, - Jennings, MO
  • Fire #3: 10/14/15 a St. Augustine Catholic Church – St. Louis, MO
  • Fire #4: 10/15/15 at New Testament Church of Christ – St. Louis, MO
  • Fire #5: 10/17/15 at New Life Missionary Baptist Church – St. Louis, MO
  • Fire #6: 10/17/15 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church – St. Louis, MO
  • Fire #7: 10/22/15 at Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic Church – St. Louis, MO

Authorities said Jackson has several prior criminal convictions on his record:

• 1998 – Two counts of receiving stolen property
• 2000 – First-degree tampering
• 2008 – Second-degree assault
• 2009 – Distribution of a controlled substance, third-degree assault, and resisting arrest
• 2015 – First-degree property damage and resisting arrest

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the investigation continues into the other five fires.

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