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The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - – Washington Post

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Deputy’s son ar­rested in black church fires

OPELOUSAS, La. – Au­thor­i­ties in southern Louisiana said Thurs­day that the sus­pect in a spate of black church fires is the son of a par­ish sher­iff’s deputy.

Holden Matthews, 21, was ar­rested Wed­nes­day and charged with three ar­son counts in three church burn­ings in St. Landry Par­ish across 10 days that have fright­ened black com­mu­ni­ties, prompt­ing worry that they were racially mo­ti­vated crimes.

“It has been es­pe­cially painful be­cause it re­minds us of a very dark past of in­tim­i­da­tion and fear,” Gov. John Bel Ed­wards, a Demo­crat, said at a news con­fer­ence.

Matthews is the son of St. Landry Par­ish Sher­iff’s Deputy Roy Matthews, who was “shocked and hurt” at the news of the ar­rest, St. Landry Par­ish Sher­iff Bobby Guidroz said.

Guidroz re­buffed ear­lier re­ports that Matthews was taken into cus­tody by his own father. That is false, he said from the podium.

“This case was solved with boots on the ground and butts in the air,” Guidroz said, though he added Roy Matthews helped di­rect his son away from his home to make the ar­rest.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the fires con­sti­tute a hate crime, an FBI of­fi­cial said at the news con­fer­ence. “We need to go where the evidence takes us,”

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