The authorities have taken a homeless man into custody in connection with a fire that occurred earlier this month in South Central Los Angeles and injured three firefighters. The fire destroyed a church standing for more than a century.
Arresting Homeless Man for Setting Church on Fire
Carlos Diaz, 23, homeless, was taken into custody in the South Los Angeles area by investigators from the department's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section and detectives from the Los Angeles School Police Department, according to the authorities.
After the Fire Department opened an investigation and reviewed the security video, the authorities said he "allegedly" set the historic church on fire.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department named Nicholas Prange stated that the firefighting effort, which lasted for at least two hours, resulted in the injuries of three firefighters.
According to the Los Angeles Times, inside the church, the ceiling and walls came tumbling down, trapping one person inside. One member of the team was taken to the hospital in a moderate state. At the same time, another continued to work on extinguishing the fire and was later taken to the hospital in a fair condition when the flames were brought under control.
Following the event, a third firefighter went to the hospital to treat some minor injuries. Meanwhile, as reported by MSN, The LAFD stated in a news release that "initial information did not immediately reveal any evidence of an intentionally set fire."
However, through their persistence, they were eventually able to uncover security footage that helped connect the dots.
They went on to say that the diligent detectives from a number of different agencies worked tirelessly to fit the pieces together to catch the suspect and promptly remove him from circulation, with the assistance of important eyewitness testimony.
Arthur Peters established the church in 1943, quickly becoming a gathering place for members of the gospel music community, civil rights activists, and worshipers.
Given the significance that the church played in the development of Los Angeles, historian Tyree Boyd-Pates stated that it is difficult to comprehend, particularly for African Americans who relocated to the area during the Great Migration in the 1940s.
History of Victory Baptist Church
The original location of the building was 42nd Street and Wadsworth Avenue. The church moved to its current home on East 48th Street and McKinley in 1944 due to the congregation's increasing size.
In 1950, when its services on Sunday evening were first shown on television, it catapulted to the forefront of public attention.
As reported by the L.A. Times, the church became active in the civil rights movement, participating in activities such as organizing fundraising events and promoting voter registration.
At the church's 24th anniversary celebration, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was invited to give the keynote address.
Today, according to its Facebook page, Victory Baptist Church's congregation is increasing and is primarily composed of families. They worship God, proclaim Christ, and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit at Victory. The Bible, in their view, is God's inerrant Word to humanity.
They focus their sermons and teaching method on the central tenet of Christianity, and the goal of their musical ministry is to provide an atmosphere conducive to hearing God's Word.