Fort Worth

Fort Worth police appeal for help identifying church arson suspects

Surveillance photos of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church arson suspects being sought by Fort Worth police.
Surveillance photos of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church arson suspects being sought by Fort Worth police. Courtesy

Police continued their plea Sunday for help to identifying suspects who vandalized and caused heavy damage to St. Stephen Presbyterian Church a week ago and set a fire inside.

Police have released photographs of the suspects from church surveillance cameras, in hopes residents could recognize them.

The suspects were in the church more than five hours, according to times on the photographs. One photograph indicates that a suspect was in the church just after 9 p.m. Jan. 7, and the last photograph released by police showed that the suspect was there at 2:34 a.m. Jan. 8.

Police and fire responded to the church at 4:30 a.m. Jan. 8.

A 21-year-old Fort Worth man is a “person of interest,” fire Lt. Kyle Falkner has said. The man was arrested Sunday on outstanding warrants a few hours after the fire and vandalism at the church, 2700 McPherson Ave., near the Texas Christian University campus. The man has been released from custody.

Police also described the man as a “person of interest” because he was in the area at the time of the incident.

“He was interviewed and then released,” police Sgt. Marc Povero has said.

The vandals broke out numerous windows, furniture was broken and books were ripped apart.

The fire in the church caused less than $2,000 in damage, but prompted cancellation of the Sunday service.

Food and containers had been stacked on a stove and torched Sunday morning. .

The congregation came together for a special service at the church on the afternoon of Jan. 8.

Fort Worth police said the call came in as a burglary and numerous police cars quickly arrived at St. Stephen, where officers noticed smoke coming from the building, police said.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

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