JACKSON, Miss. – A suspect has been arrested after over a dozen churches were set on fire not far from Jackson State University on Election Day.
Hinds County Sheriff’s Office deputies said the fires were intentionally set early Tuesday morning.
“HCSO Deputies acting on a tip from citizens were able to detain the wanted arson suspect, Delvin McLaurin and take him into custody this evening in Terry near the Hinds/Copiah County line,” Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones tweeted late Tuesday afternoon. “He will be transferred to @JacksonMSPolice for further questioning.”
A spokesperson for the Jackson Police Department said he is being charged with felony malicious mischief. He is being questioned by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and may face additional charges.
The Jackson Fire Department spent most of the day Tuesday investigating the seven fires that happened overnight just a few miles from Jackson State University.
The fires that occurred on Election Day included several buildings and churches in the Jackson State neighborhood and a building on the Jackson State University baseball complex.
No polling places were affected, Armon said.
“The citizens are outraged that there is a suspected arsonist in our midst,” said Ward 5 Councilman Vernon Hartley who represents the areas near Jackson State where the fires occurred.
Democratic congressional candidate Shuwaski Young of District 3 released a statement early Tuesday morning, calling the fires acts of “terrorism.”
“This morning several churches were burned in Jackson, Mississippi on Election Day,” the statement read. “These cowardly actions invoke historical acts of terrorism when people are fighting for their right to vote and live peacefully as Americans and Mississippians. We will not be deterred and will not be intimidated. We will not allow domestic terrorists to suppress our right to vote. I ask all Mississippians to go vote regardless of this decades old intimidation tactic to suppress our votes today. Just go vote.”