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Church arson caught on video leads to Fort Pierce man’s arrest

Church arson caught on video leads to Fort Pierce man's arrest

  • Church arson caught on video leads to Fort Pierce man’s arrest (Photo: TCPALM)
  • A 38-year-old Fort Pierce man has been arrested and charged with arson after a surveillance video showed him starting a fire early Thursday morning at Indian River Presbyterian Church on Virginia Avenue.
  • FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A 38-year-old Fort Pierce man was arrested on an arson charge Thursday after a surveillance video showed him starting a fire in the early morning at Indian River Presbyterian Church, according to a Fort Pierce Police Department news release.
  • The motive for the arson is unclear, and there is no apparent connection to the Sept. 12 arson at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, 1104 W. Midway Road, Cunningham said.
  • Investigators determined the fire at the church, in the 2400 block of Virginia Avenue, was an arson.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A 38-year-old Fort Pierce man was arrested on a n arson charge Thursday after a surveillance video showed him starting a fire in the early morning at Indian River Presbyterian Church, according to a Fort Pierce Police Department news release.

@10NewsWTSP: Church arson caught on video leads to Fort Pierce man’s arrest

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A 38-year-old Fort Pierce man was arrested on an arson charge Thursday after a surveillance video showed him starting a fire in the early morning at Indian River Presbyterian Church, according to a Fort Pierce Police Department news release.

Tyquaris Ward, of the 2400 block of South 25th Street, is charged with second-degree arson, said Ed Cunningham, police department spokesman. Details on Ward’s bail amount and whether he’s at the St. Lucie County Jail were unavailable Thursday night.

The motive for the arson is unclear, and there is no apparent connection to the Sept. 12 arson at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, 1104 W. Midway Road, Cunningham said.

About 8 a.m. Thursday, a church employee walked inside the building, smelled smoke and soon discovered substantial burn damage to the floor and doors on the west side of the church, the news release states.

The fire was no longer burning, but the employee called police. Investigators determined the fire at the church, in the 2400 block of Virginia Avenue, was an arson.

A church security video shows that at 2:28 a.m., a man walked up to the church with a gas can, poured a liquid on the outside of the doors, set a rag on fire with a cigarette lighter and threw the rag at the doors, causing them to burst into flames.

Detectives noticed the man was wearing casual slippers and suspected he might live nearby.

They brought a photo made from the security video to a nearby residential complex, the release states, where someone identified the man. Detectives went to the suspect’s apartment, and Ward answered the door.

Ward was still wearing the same clothes from the video, and detectives could smell smoke on him. He was brought to the Fort Pierce Police Department for questioning and was arrested.

Police are working with the FBI and state fire marshals to investigate the incident.

Church arson caught on video leads to Fort Pierce man’s arrest

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