Fire at SoCal Church Was Hate Crime, Investigators Say
No one was inside the San Diego-area Greek Orthodox church when it was
set ablaze. Authorities have arrested a man on suspicion of committing a
By Monica Garske and Sharon Bernstein
| Monday, Jan 28, 2013
Another in a flurry of apparently unrelated incidents that investigators
are looking into as hate crimes took place over the weekend in Southern
California, when someone set a Greek Orthodox church ablaze.
The fire at the St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthorox Church in San Diego
county broke out at about 4 a.m. on Sunday.
Neighbors in the unincorporated area of El Cajon where the church is
located reported the blaze to authorities.
Firefighters from Cal Fire, San Miguel Fire District, Heartland Fire and
Lakeside all worked together to tackle the blaze. Crews were able to
extinguish the fire within 45 minutes, officials said.
There was no one inside the church at the time of the fire and no
injuries were reported.
Investigators from the Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit and a fire investigator
from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives were
called to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the fire caused about $250,000 in
damages to the church.
Investigators have identified a person of interest in connection to the
Suspect Darin Williams, 38, was immediately contacted by investigators
and arrested for suspicion of arson, burglary and a hate crime.
Williams was booked into San Diego Central Jail and being held on
$150,000 bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
No further details were immediately released.
The investigation is ongoing. Check back for updates.