A string of assaults on homes of worship utilized by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington state are below investigation.
There have been 4 situations of arson and one taking pictures — spanning 9 months and 4 places — that investigators consider are linked to at least one one other.
“As these incidents have been positioned in shut proximity to one another, it’s believed that they’re associated,” mentioned Jason Chudy, the general public data officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Seattle division.
“ATF is working carefully with a number of native regulation enforcement companies in these ongoing investigations,” Chudy mentioned.
Chudy mentioned that the investigation is ongoing and they don’t seem to be publicly discussing “any suspects, if any, that we have recognized.”
March 19: Two arson assaults
Two totally different homes of worship, known as Kingdom Halls, have been focused on the identical day.
The 2 homes of worship, one in Tumwater, the opposite three miles away in Olympia, have been set on hearth.
“Injury to each was minor, restricted to the outside constructions,” Chudy mentioned.
Tumwater Fireplace Chief Scott LaVielle mentioned that the Tumwater constructing sustained about $15,000 value of injury, based on ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.
Might 15: Capturing
Slightly below two months later, one other home of worship was attacked within the city of Yelm.
On this case, a suspect or suspects fired 35 rifle rounds on the Kingdom Corridor.
Chudy mentioned the taking pictures triggered greater than $10,000 in injury.
July 3: Arson
The fourth assault revisited one of many earlier targets, because the Kingdom Corridor on Cain Highway within the city of Olympia was lit on hearth as soon as once more.
This assault “utterly destroyed” the constructing, Chudy mentioned.
On July 18, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza mentioned that the 4 assaults up thus far are thought-about hate crimes, based on KOMO-TV.
Dec. 7: Arson
After a five-month break, one other assault was reported on the Kingdom Corridor within the city of Lacey, nearer to the primary two targets. The constructing was “utterly destroyed.”
Snaza expressed frustration on the sequence of assaults.
“Why is that this particular faith being focused? Why are these church buildings being focused? What are they doing that’s so fallacious and oppressive?” Snaza mentioned, based on ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.
“It makes you are feeling actually in poor health about someone who has some form of animosity in the direction of any faith, but alone a Jehovah’s Witness of Kingdom Corridor,” Snaza mentioned, based on KOMO. “So how irritating is it that individuals who discover a solemn place of worship, and now it is being destroyed?”