Community members and church members react to arrest in connection to church fires


Community and church members learned the news that Holden Matthews was arrested in connection with the burnings of three Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish.
“I’m feeling good today especially with the news that we’ve gotten in that of a suspect has been arrested. It gives quite an ease of mind to the people that were affected directly as also as us who were indirectly affected,” said Freddie Jack.

Jack is a pastor at St. John Baptist Church in Ville Platte and is the president of the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association.

“It’s just good to know they found someone,” said Marie Marcel.

She is a genealogist at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, one of the churches that were allegedly burned down by Matthews.

Dan Krutz of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference in Baton Rouge adds: “I think there needs to be a place for forgiveness of that person and recognized as one of the pastors so beautifully stated that we love you we forgive you and that I think frees up people. When you’re able to forgive I think it’s a way of letting go a bit of anger and frustration.” 

Krutz said all three churches that burned are part of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention. 

“Incidences like these have not necessarily a silver lining but out of them comes good and I think that will happen here too,” he explained. 

Pastor Gerald Toussaint of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church says he feels relief that there is some closure.

“I’m doing good. I feel great today just relieved that this thing has come to its fruition. I’m just glad for the police officers and all those the FBI and the ATF and all law-enforcement and everybody who had something to do with bringing this thing to a close and we hope that this comes out better makes us a better people than we were,” he said. 

Pastor Toussaint’s church was the third church to have been burned down

When asked about his next step, he said he’ll have to regroup and rethink his purpose in life. 

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