West Virginia State Police have launched a criminal investigation into a suspected arson attack over the weekend that allegedly targeted a historic church.
The Beaver Volunteer Fire Department was alerted to the fire at St. Colman Catholic Church on Sunday in Shady Spring, West Virginia.
“Upon arrival we found the structure was already burned to the ground and smoldering. At this time the fire is considered suspicious in nature and is being investigated as arson,” the fire department said in a statement. “We were assisted by Ghent VFD, Coal City VFD, Ghent EMS, National Park Service and the WV State Police.”
The suspected arson attack comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled late last week to overturn the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision which led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to warn of domestic terrorist attacks in response to the ruling.
“Faith-based organizations across the United States continue to report numerous criminal incidents against religious institutions connected to abortion rights,” a DHS intelligence report stated. “We are aware of at least 11 incidents of vandalism threatening violence targeting religious facilities perceived as being opposed to abortion, and one threat to ‘bomb’ and ‘burn’ a church in New York. These incidents of vandalism against faith-based organizations could indicate future targets of DVE attacks.”
The report warned that the topic targets for domestic terrorism were federal and state officials, including judges.
The suspected church arson in West Virginia follows another suspected arson case that happened over the weekend in Colorado, where a pregnancy center in Longmont was vandalized and set on fire.
“The fire happened at around 3:00 a.m. at the Life Choices Pregnancy Center,” local media reported. “The graffiti contained threatening messages including the words, ‘If abortions aren’t safe neither are you.’”
“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support we have received since this morning and pray for healing and peace for all,” Kathy Roberts, Executive Director of the Life Choices Pregnancy Center, said in a statement. “Although this is unsettling, we have an incredible, caring staff and volunteers that are committed to coming back and serving our community and surrounding areas.”
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