“This is a slow and painstaking process,” said John Ham, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is working with a local task force on the case.
The church was set afire around the same time about a dozen other buildings were set ablaze in Ferguson by protesters angered by the grand jury’s decision, but it’s on a remote section of West Florissant Avenue where other structures were unscathed.
“The police called me and told me the church was on fire,” the Rev. Carlton Lee said. “I was in complete disbelief. I didn’t think anyone would set a church on fire.
“I feel like one of my children has died. I put my blood, my sweat, my tears into this church, getting this church built from the ground up. To see that it was taken down in a few minutes is really heartbreaking.”
He said he told Michael Brown Sr. about the extensive damage on Tuesday afternoon. “He was just devastated again,” he said.
The pastor said he doubted the same people who were raging on the other end of West Florissant had burned his church.Instead, he said, he suspected white supremacists who wanted to punish him for his support of the Brown family, who had just been baptized there.