White Rhode Island Man Arrested After Setting Multiple Fires At Black Church

White Rhode Island Man Arrested After Setting Multiple Fires At Black Church

34-year-old Kevin Colantonio of North Providence was arrested after allegedly setting several fires outside a Black church

A Rhode Island man was arrested on Thursday, Feb. 15 and charged for allegedly setting a Black church on fire.

According to The Department of Justice, 34-year-old Kevin Colantonio of North Providence was charged with maliciously damaging or destroying by means of fire or explosion. The DOJ stated Colantonio is accused of setting several fires around Shiloh Gospel Temple in North Providence, RI.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives picked up Colantonio at his residence without incident. The agency worked with members of the North Providence Police Department, and the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office in the investigation of the fires allegedly set by the 34-year-old. He is in federal custody following an appearance in U.S. District Court.

In a written statement, Zachary Cunha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island said, “As the result of some truly exceptional police work, which included the personal observations of a North Providence police officer who, while responding to an unrelated call, observed an individual walking with a gas can, officers were able to eventually identify a local gas station where the fuel used to kindle this blaze was purchased. By means of video surveillance, financial records, and other means, federal state and local law enforcement were able to identify a suspect, who was observed purchasing gasoline and a BIC lighter at the gas station, approximately twelve minutes before the first reports of fire at the Shiloh Temple.”

Cunha also stated that during a search of the suspect’s home, evidence was recovered, including notebooks that had writings like “burn churches down to the ground;” “hunt them down, gun everyone down who isn’t white.” Cunha said there was also proof of other sentences where he expressed “animus towards racial and religious groups.”

The investigation is ongoing.

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