FBI Investigating Arson Attack on Black Church, Spray Painted with 'Vote Trump'

An FBI investigation has been opened to identify vandals who burned a black church in Mississippi, and wrote "Vote Trump" on the wall on November 1.

The act of vandalism was carried out about a week before the scheduled election on November 8th, contested by Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Both the candidates came out strongly against the arson attack on Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville.

Donald Trump's campaign said that they were "deeply saddened for the members of the Hopewell M.B. Church community and condemn in the strongest terms this terrible act that has no place in our society."

"We are grateful that no one was hurt and we urge witnesses with any information to come forward and help bring justice to those who are responsible," the Trump campaign said.

Democratic nominee Clinton tweeted, "This kind of hate has no place in America."

Church members said they had not received any threats during the past weeks.

"Our church was a historic church that has been there for over 111 years," Pastor Carolyn Hudson said at a press conference. "This has left our hearts broken, but we are strong together."

Mayor Errick D. Simmons said that hate crime is being investigated.

"This act is a direct assault on people's right to freely worship," Simmons said. "We will not rest until the culprit is found and fully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The FBI cautioned that it was too early to assume the motives behind the attack.

"The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville," said FBI spokesman Brett Carr, "and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed."

Governor Phil Bryant (Rep) said that suspects are expected to be identified and prosecuted soon.

"First, anyone who burns a place of worship will answer to almighty God for this crime against people of faith. But they should also answer to man's law," Bryant wrote on his official Facebook page. "Authorities are investigating and we expect a suspect will be identified and brought to justice."

Donations have poured in to help repair the church, and about $200,000 have been collected through GoFundMe since November 2.

Tags Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville Mississippi, Donald Trump, HIllary Clinton, US National Elections 2016

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