Fire at SoCal Church Was Hate Crime, Investigators Say

No one was inside the San Diego-area Greek Orthodox church when it was set ablaze. Authorities have arrested a man on suspicion of committing a hate crime.

Another in a flurry of apparently unrelated incidents that investigators are looking into as hate crimes took place over the weekend in Southern California, when someone set a Greek Orthodox church ablaze.

The fire at the St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthorox Church in San Diego county broke out at about 4 a.m. on Sunday.

Neighbors in the unincorporated area of El Cajon where the church is located reported the blaze to authorities.

Firefighters from Cal Fire, San Miguel Fire District, Heartland Fire and Lakeside all worked together to tackle the blaze. Crews were able to extinguish the fire within 45 minutes, officials said.

There was no one inside the church at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

Investigators from the Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit and a fire investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives were called to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the fire caused about $250,000 in damages to the church.
Investigators have identified a person of interest in connection to the fire.


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Suspect Darin Williams, 38, was immediately contacted by investigators and arrested for suspicion of arson, burglary and a hate crime.

Williams was booked into San Diego Central Jail and being held on $150,000 bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

No further details were immediately released.

The investigation is ongoing. Check back for updates.

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