‘Vote Trump’ painted on black church set on fire in Mississippi
GREENVILLE, Miss. — It’s a common refrain on political yard signs this time of year. But someone took their fervor for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to another level at a black church in Mississippi, authorities said.
Vandals set the Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville on fire and scrawled the words “Vote Trump” in crude, white spray paint across the outside of the building Tuesday night.
There were no reports of injuries.
Because it’s an African-American church, the FBI is working “with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed,” said a statement from the FBI’s office in Jackson, the state capital.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s office, ATF special agent Joseph Frank said.
ATF agents weren’t able to enter the structure until midmorning Wednesday because it was still too hot, Frank said. They are now inside investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
Local law enforcement officials are expected to release more details about the incident at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Greenville is a city of 33,000 in western Mississippi, a few miles from the Arkansas border.