Man arrested on suspicion of vandalizing and setting fires inside several churches in SoCal

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Authorities arrested a 25-year-old man suspected in a series of overnight arson and vandalism acts committed at churches around Southern California. (KABC)

Authorities arrested a 25-year-old man suspected in a series of overnight arson and vandalism acts committed at churches around Southern California.

Christian Michael Garcia was arrested Thursday on suspicion of arson and vandalism, authorities said.

He is suspected of setting off a series of fires and vandalizing property in and outside of churches, with the most recent acts happening at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights and Church of the Angels in Pasadena.

Garcia is also suspected of committing the same acts at a few other churches in Los Angeles and around the county.

Around 2 a.m. Thursday, authorities responded to a fire at Resurrection Church. It was contained to the first floor and eventually knocked down.

On Sunday, mass was held, but churchgoers had the services outside under tents in the courtyard of the attached school.

Damage to the inside of the church was extensive, with paint burned off the walls and religious art covered in soot and ash.

During the outdoor service, parishioners shielded their faces from the sun, but people who spoke with Eyewitness News said they didn't mind the set-up.

"I liked it. I mean you can tell everybody is here for one reason only and to attend church and hear the word of the lord," Erendira Sahagun said.

Repairs to the church could take weeks.

The Church of the Angels in Pasadena, which is considered a historical landmark and was constructed in 1889, suffered smoke and fire damage inside. Religious statues and figures were vandalized and covered in graffiti.

As for Garcia, his case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Monday.

Related Topics:
church firechurcharsonvandalismarrestBoyle HeightsLos AngelesPasadenaLos Angeles County
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