Member of Congregation Arrested for 'Vote Trump' Arson at Black MS Church
BREAKING: Greenville PD arrests Andrew McClinton for Nov. 1 fire at Hopewell MB Church. He's charged w/ arson pic.twitter.com/lZsoyQ9fv9
— Jenna Jordan (@NewsieJJ) December 21, 2016
An African-American member of the congregation has been arrested for setting a November fire at a black church in Mississippi.
The fire made national headlines because it was set just a week before Election Day at the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville.
The words "Vote Trump" were spray-painted on the exterior of the church and the incident was widely reported as potentially being a racially-motivated hate crime.
One headline following the Nov. 1 blaze stated that "A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump." The fire prompted a swift condemnation on Twitter from Hillary Clinton, who wrote that "this kind of hate has no place in America."
On Wednesday, 45-year-old Andrew McClinton, reportedly a member of the congregation, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson.
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) December 22, 2016
Authorities said the arson was likely not politically-motivated, but the true motive remains unclear. A GoFundMe page was created to raise money for the church and more than a quarter-million dollars was donated in just a few days.
The page has since been removed and the church was demolished due to the heavy damage.