church

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The U.S. Justice Department says hate crime charges have been filed against a Louisiana man in connection with three fires that destroyed African American churches earlier this year. A news release from the department says 21-year-old Holden Matthews faces three counts of "intentional damage to religious property," which are hate crime charges. Matthews has pleaded not guilty to related state charges. His attorney declined comment on the federal charges.

The crowdfunding campaign to raise money for three African American churches gutted by arson in Louisiana began a week ago, but donations surged after flames engulfed the roof of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and the outcry provoked a conversation about the disparate reactions to the tragedies.

Marcus Bernales / Flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Authorities say the floor of a historic Louisiana church has collapsed during a funeral service and injured around a dozen people. The Hammond director of administration, Lacy Landrum, tells The Daily Star at least 10 people were rescued Saturday at the Greater St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Shelton Myers tells WBRZ-TV about a dozen people fell into a 4-foot deep hole in church's foyer. Hammond Fire Department Chief Jesse Hodges says two people were taken to a hospital.

Courtesy / House.gov

Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham says the Air Force failed to do its job. Preliminary reports say the Texas church gunman, Devin Kelly, should have been added to a list of people unable to own guns. A background check should have caught a military conviction for assault and aggravated assault that made him ineligible to own any guns.  Kelly was discharged for bad conduct in the military in 2014.