Lousiana authorities on high alert after recent church arsons

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ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – There’s been 3 church fires in St. Landry Parish in 10 days.
The 3 historically black Baptist churches are being treated like crime scenes.
 
Authorities are calling them suspicious and are not ruling out arson.
However, they can’t say quite yet whether the fires are connected.
 
After today’s news conference, law enforcement met privately with local ministers, to offer tips on how they can tighten security at their churches.
 
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz wouldn’t go into huge detail with KLFY about what was discussed.
But says his Department along with Opelousas PD, offered some simple tips on what members of the congregation should look out for.
 
Along with a direct warning, if someone is responsible for these fires..
 
“To the person that is doing this to these churches, get ready. We’re going to put the cuffs on you. And I will be the one to do it.”
 
A stern warning Thursday from St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidros, after 3 fires at Baptist churches just days apart.
 
“We don’t want to see any more churches burned. But more importantly, we don’t want to see people get injured,” said Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.
 
“They (law enforcement) want us to be aware of suspicious vehicles, suspicious persons, or any information the congregants give us,” said Calvin Moore, a local pastor in St. Landry Parish.
 
“I’ve put some men on overtime issues, starting tonight in fact. To make sure other churches are safe,” said Sheriff Guidroz.
 
This hits Opelousas Police Chief Martin McLendon close to home.
He serves as the General Secretary for the Historical Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association, which includes more than 55 churches.
 
“We know that the church, that’s a building.
But our faith in Jesus Christ, is going to sustain us during these difficult times,” said Chief McLendon.
 
Although the fires are being labeled as suspicious, fire officials are still working to determine if in fact they’re connected.
However — Sheriff Bobby Guidroz has a strong gut feeling, that it’s arson.
 
“I agree with the Fire Marshal, I think it’s somebody out there that’s got a motive to do damage and he has evidentially. He’s totalled 3 churches, so yes I do (think it’s arson).
I think we’re going to solve this case, it’s just going to take us a little time,” said Sheriff Guidroz.
 
Law enforcement is asking everyone who attends these churches to be extremely vigilent.
If you see something, say something, as they need all hands on deck to solve this case.

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