The FBI is conducting an investigation on the explosion that happened at a church in El Monte on a Saturday morning that raised tension between the LGBTQ+ community for its stance on same-sex marriages.
The FBI posted a tweet on Sunday asking for help from the public to call them if anyone has tips on who might be held responsible for the "bomb attack", as described by the investigators, that happened at the First Works Baptist Church.
The FBI responded overnight with @elmontepolice & @LASDHQ to an #IED attack at the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte, CA. Bomb Techs & the FBI's Evidence Team continue to process the scene. If you have a tip about the responsible party, please call 3104776565. #SeekingInfo pic.twitter.com/LobrjbrZtx
"” FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) January 23, 2021
According to an article from The New York Times, someone threw an improvised explosive device at the building which blew out the windows.
"An improvised explosive device was apparently detonated here at the church, causing some damage," claimed David Reynoso, El Monte police chief, from a KTLA article.
Apparently, despite the damages done to the church caused by the explosion, no one got injured, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
"A joint investigation is underway for the person or group responsible for the attack," Eimiller said.
"We are continuing to investigate and seek information from the public," she added after the FBI finished processing the scene and turned it back over to the El Monte police
While the motive is still unclear, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said that she was aware of the "anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic sermons" given by Pastor Bruce Mejia but added that "violence is never the answer."
In a report, Lt. Christopher Cano said, "When our units arrived at the scene they found that (the church) ... was having some smoke come out of the windows,"
"It appeared that the walls to the church had been vandalized as well as all the windows. (The windows) appeared at first to be smashed, then we realized that the windows were not smashed, that they had actually blown out from some type of explosion." he continued.
The church, which is headed by Pastor Bruce Mejia, has been the target of community protests for the past few weeks due to its stance on the LGBTQ community. Pastor Mejia even filed a report to the police after receiving a threat of arson on social media. He said his doctrines since the church was launched 3 years ago which includes condemnation of same-sex relationships.
A petition made that recognizes the church as a hate group has over 15,000 signatures coming from those who seek to take them out of El Monte.
During an interview, Pastor Mejia implied that bombing their church won't change his point of view.
"It doesn't change the convictions that are already embedded in my heart," Pastor Mejia said. "I'm never going to stop, so burning down my building or blowing it up does absolutely nothing but make you look bad in front of the community."
Mr. Mejia also said on Saturday: "It's not going to really deter us from doing what we always do,"
"We're not afraid of this. It's just a little bump in the road, and we're still planning to have church tomorrow, obviously not at this current location, but we're still planning to have church and once this is all said and done, we're going to go back." he continued.