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A Pentecostal church burned to the ground early Wednesday morning in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
The now smoldering lot of where First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs once stood has become a crime scene.
Major Kelly McMillen: "We do believe based on the evidence and what we've seen at the scene on top of the hill this was an arson."
The suspected motive?
Retaliation, vengeance for legally challenging the city's Wuhan-virus-related lockdown orders after Pastor Jerry Waldrop was cited for holding Easter Sunday services.
Represented by Thomas More Society, attorney Stephen Crampton talked about spray paint cans and graffiti found at the crime scene — one of the spray-painted messages stood out.
Stephen Crampton: "'I bet you stay home now you hypocrites' seems very clearly directed at this particular lawsuit and the church's stand for its own Constitutional rights."
Though the Pentecostal church's legal battle has been with local government, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves weighed in on the arson:
This makes me angry. This is not who we are as a people. This is not who we are as a state. ... But if this is in fact what it looks like, I want you to know that we are going to do everything in our power to find whomever burned this church down.
In a tweet about the crime, Gov. Reeves said: "What is this pandemic doing to us? We need prayer for this county."
The arson investigation is still in progress. Officials are asking anybody with information to contact the Marshall County Sheriff's Department.