JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Several churches and local businesses will begin their rebuilding process following several fires that were started.
Greater Bethlehem Temple Church is one of the churches that was badly damaged when Devin McLaurin allegedly started seven fires early Tuesday morning. The children’s area of the church and chapel sustained heavy damage, but that didn’t stop Sunday’s worship service.
“It’s very important that we continue our worship, continuing to build up our faith. Sometimes when tragedies like this happen, when things happen that people don’t understand, they can leave you feeling pretty empty, pretty void inside. What better way to fill that emptiness than by coming to worship service and receiving the word, something that’s going to build up your faith,” said Ervin Ricks, communications director for the church.
One of the church deacons described the incident as “devilish,” but sends his blessing to McLaurin, hoping he’ll find peace and get himself together.
“For someone to come in and do something like, that I would say devilish like. That is uncalled for and it’s just a shame. It’s not a good thing. Not just our church, but some of the other structures that were actually set on fire. Lord, bless that young man. Your heart goes out to him. Even though he did what he did, you still have to have a heart for that young man,” said Deacon Dwight Taylor.
Devin McLaurin was charged with felony malicious mischief, four counts of first-degree arson and two counts of arson. He has since been denied bond.