Suspect in Louisiana church fires is the son of a sheriff's deputy: reports

The son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in connection with a string of fires that burned down three historically black Louisiana churches, according to reports.

Holden Matthews, 21, was taken into custody Wednesday night, local ABC affiliate station KATC3 reported. He is the son of a St. Landry Parish deputy, according to the report. 


It was reported Wednesday that a suspect had been taken into custody, but officials declined to confirm the arrest at the time. A press conference is expected Thursday morning with updates on the case. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is expected to attend.

Matthews lives in St. Landry Parish, near the site of the fires, according to the report.

The arrest comes after fires at the Greater Union Baptist Church, the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and the St. Mary Baptist Church in recent weeks. No one was hurt in the fires.

State authorities have been investigating the three fires as “suspicious” and are being assisted by the FBI in their investigations. Another recent fire at a predominantly white church in the area was deemed “intentionally set.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson labeled the fires acts of “domestic terrorism.”

“We must not turn a blind eye to any incident where people are targeted because of the color of their skin or their faith,” Johnson said in a recent statement.