Another in a flurry of apparently unrelated incidents that investigators are looking into as hate crimes took place over the weekend in Southern California, when someone set a Greek Orthodox church ablaze. The fire at St Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego County broke out at about 04.00 PST (07.00 EST 12.00 UTC 16.00 MSK 23.00 AEST) on Sunday. Neighbours in the unincorporated area of El Cajon where the church is located reported the blaze to authorities. Fire-fighters from Cal Fire, San Miguel Fire District, Heartland Fire, and Lakeside all worked together to tackle the blaze. Officials said that crews were able to extinguish the fire within 45 minutes. There was no one inside the church at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.
Investigators from the Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit and a fire investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives were called to investigate the cause and origin of the fire. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the fire caused about 250,000 USD (7.55 million Roubles. 186,000 Euros. 160,000 UK Pounds) in damages to the church. Investigators identified a person of interest in connection to the fire. Investigators immediately contacted suspect Darin Williams, 38, and they arrested him for suspicion of arson, burglary, and a hate crime. Williams was booked into San Diego Central Jail; he’s being held on 150,000 USD (4.53 million Roubles. 112,000 Euros. 96,000 UK Pounds) bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. No further details were immediately released, as the investigation is still underway.
28 January 2013
4 NBC Southern California