A 21-year-old man has been arrested in a string of church fires in Louisiana. According to local news, Holden Matthews has been arrested for church fires in St. Landry Parish.
Sources confirm the suspect is the son of a St. Landry Parish Deputy. According to the website Metal Injection, Matthews is also a death metal musician.
Matthews was booked on the evening of April 10. He is being held responsible for burning down three churches in rural St. Landry Parish in late March and early April.
The fires occurred at St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on March 26, April 2, and April 4, respectively. These are all predominantly African American churches.
According to Metal Injection, Matthews was a "devout black metal fan." In addition to listening to the genre of music, he also had his own music project called "Vodka Vultures."
However, that is far from the most concerning part about Matthews. On social media, he also posted about being a pagan.
“Matthews frequently posted about pagan beliefs, and recently uploaded a picture of a gun and a knife with the caption ‘I carry this…..maybe not legally but I only truly follow the law of Odin….. which says as you said,arm yourself…… Odins advice> modern law,'" according to The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast report also noted that Matthews commented on “a drawing of a pagan figure had a swastika-like design on his belt,” Matthews said “the belt gives him extra strength and power…..white power lmao jk jk I had to.”
Louisiana congressman Clay Higgins responded to Matthews' arrest. He shared a faith-filled response.
“I’m very proud of the investigative effort that has lead to this arrest. I’m prayerful that we can close this horrific chapter and begin to heal. I’m especially uplifted by the Christian Community right now. God bless us one and all,” said Higgins said in a statement to KATC.
US Attorney David Joseph released the following statement on the burnings.
“A suspect has been identified in connection with the three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and those St. Landry Parish residents affected by these despicable acts. A special thanks to St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, H. “Butch” Browning Jr., Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Cybercrime Unit, the Louisiana State Police, and the Florida State Fire Marshal for working seamlessly with federal law enforcement agents in this investigation.”
The first fire occurred on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre. The second occurred at Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas on April 2. The third occurred on April 4 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.
Please join us in praying for everyone who lost their churches to this arsonist.