A day after Michael Brown’s father was baptized, the church that hosted the ceremony was torched. The pastor of Flood Christian Church located on West Florissant Ave. believes the building was targeted because he has publicly called for Officer Darren Wilson’s arrest, NBC News reports.
The church was set ablaze Monday night after a St. Louis Country grand jury announced its decision not to indict Wilson, a white police officer, for the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
"I'm very vocal in regards to the Michael Brown case," Rev. Carlton Lee told NBC News. Lee has attended rallies and been alongside Michael Brown Sr.’s side at press conferences. On Sunday, Michael Brown’s father was baptized at the church, Lee said.
The church is located on a remote part of West Florissant Ave. where nearby buildings were left untouched. Lee suspects those responsible do not belong to the same group of protesters who burned and looted other businesses in the area Monday night; they were upset with the grand jury’s decision not to prosecute Wilson, who shot and killed the unarmed teen. The arsonists who burned down Flood Christian Church may be those who disagree with Lee’s stance -- either white supremacists or Wilson supporters, Lee said.
They burned our church down last night but God still reigns. We keepin' it moving. pic.twitter.com/lrKBN8kjdo
— Chanel Lee (@MrsChanelLee) November 26, 2014
"I feel like one of my children has died,” Lee told NBC News. “I put my blood, my sweat, my tears into this church, getting this church built from the ground up. To see that it was taken down in a few minutes is really heartbreaking."
"Sunday, we do the baptism. Monday, the church is on fire. It just doesn't add up," Lee said.
Protests, rallies and riots have dominated Ferguson’s streets since the grand jury’s decision was announced Monday night. National Guard troops have been deployed to contain the demonstrations during which 12 commercial buildings have been completely destroyed by fire, eight others burned and a dozen vehicles torched, the Associated Press reports. At first Missouri governor Jay Nixon called 700 troops to the area. Now, that number has increased to 2,200.
"Lives and property must be protected," Nixon said. "This community deserves to have peace."