A fire that engulfed a church with a primarily African-American congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina early on Wednesday morning has been ruled as arson, fire officials said.
The fire, at the Briar Creek Baptist Church, was estimated to have caused more than $250,000 worth of damage, the Charlotte Fire Department said in a statement.
“We completed our work on the scene and determined this was intentionally set,” Charlotte Fire Department Senior Fire Investigator David Williams said.
The department said the flames were brought under control within about an hour and 15 minutes, but one firefighter was taken to a local hospital and another was treated on scene after battling the blaze amid “extremely hot and humid conditions.”
The fire came a week after a white gunman entered an historic African-American church in neighboring South Carolina and killed nine people during a Bible study session.
The shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston came amid months of intense debate over U.S. race relations after unarmed black men were killed by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, Baltimore and elsewhere.
Williams told the local Charlotte Observer newspaper that investigators were attempting to establish if the fire was set as a hate crime.
The newspaper said the church was predominantly white when it opened in 1951 under another name, but shifted to becoming a black church over the past few decades as the area’s demographics changed.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Dominic Evans)
Jeanine Pirro pushes conspiracy theory 2016 election interference ‘apparently’ started in Ukraine
The United States intelligence community is united in the conclusion that it was Russia that interred in America's 2016 presidential election.
But Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro said that 2016 election interference "apparently" started in Ukraine.
The conspiracy theory underlying the false claim resulted in President Donald Trump seeking foreign election interference from Ukraine, the scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
Pirro also said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Geoge Kent is a "bozo."
Video of Pirro's opening was posted on Twitter by President Donald Trump:
WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.
The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.
"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.
Turkey launches ‘massive attacks’ on the Kurds — US military are ‘sickened’ by Trump’s betrayal: report
Turkey launched a new offensive against the Kurds in Northern Syria, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reported Saturday evening.
Engel hashtagged his update with #AmericanBetrayal.
"Massive attacks underway against the kurds in northern syria. No ceasefire. Total nonsenses there is," Engel reported.
President Donald Trump reportedly greenlighted the operation against the Kurds during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
"US military officials tell me they are ashamed, 'sickened.' It’s cold now outside. What about the families, and kids, out of their homes?" he wondered.