Mississippi church that sued to stop coronavirus restrictions burns down in suspected arson fire

The church has 'no enemies that we know of,' the pastor said.

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A fire scene
The scene of a fire
(carrollphoto/Getty)
Updated: May 21, 2020 - 2:59pm

A Mississippi church whose pastor filed a lawsuit against local coronavirus restrictions has burned down in what authorities are saying is a suspected arson fire. 

First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, brought forth a lawsuit against municipal authorities last month over local restrictions on certain types of gatherings. Police offers had reportedly broken up a church Bible study and an Easter service, with officials claiming that parishioners were not practicing appropriate social distancing as mandated by the local government. 

The lawsuit countered that parishioners were appropriately spaced indoors and that they usually held outdoor services, weather permitting. The church's pastor, Jerry Waldrop, asked for a restraining order against city officials to keep them from disrupting any further services. 

The church burned down Wednesday morning, with authorities suspecting it was intentionally set. Waldrop expressed confusion over the possibility of its being a deliberate fire. 

"We’ve kind of racked our brains and we have no idea,” he told media. “No enemies that we know of. We don’t know anyone that we even think could be capable of doing something like this.”

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