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Man charged with arson in blazes at two St. Louis churches

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ST. LOUIS —  A man has been charged with arson in two of the seven church fires that occurred in the St. Louis area during October, authorities said Friday.

David Lopez Jackson, 35, of St. Louis was arrested Thursday night and charged with two counts of second-degree arson, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said at a press conference.

Dotson didn’t provide a motive, saying the investigation had not been completed.

Jackson is accused of setting fires the night of October 17 at New Life Missionary Baptist Church and Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Dotson said.

In all seven incidents, the fires were started at exterior doors, and nobody was injured.

Dotson said gasoline was used to start both fires. Forensic evidence linked Jackson to the Ebenezer Luther fire, he said, and security camera footage at New Life Baptist captured an image of Jackson’s vehicle, he said.

Officers searched the car and found a canister holding gasoline and a thermos that smelled like gasoline, Dotson said.

Fires also occurred October 8 at Bethel Non-Denominational Church in suburban Jennings, October 10 at New North Side Baptist Church in Jennings, October 14 at St. Augustine Catholic Church in St. Louis, October 15 at New Testament Church of Christ in St. Louis and October 22 at the Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Louis.