The son of a St. Landry Paris, Louisiana, Deputy has been arrested as a suspect in connection to three church fires that have been deemed “suspicious.”
The fires at the three historically Black churches in St. Landry Parish all occurred within a week of each other, prompting suspicions and FBI involvement in the case.
It also put the community on edge as it hearkened back to a time when white supremacist violence—including the burning of churches—was a common tactic used to intimidate the Black community.
It is unclear how or why exactly Matthews was pinpointed as a suspect, but US Attorney David Joseph released a statement praising all law enforcement officials for their hard work on the investigation.
“A suspect has been identified in connection with the three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody,” the statement read. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and those St. Landry Parish residents affected by these despicable acts. A special thanks to St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, H. “Butch” Browning Jr., Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Cybercrime Unit, the Louisiana State Police, and the Florida State Fire Marshal for working seamlessly with federal law enforcement agents in this investigation.”