Police: Church Arsonist Calls Police and Confesses to Crime

| June 24, 2012

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Members of an Independence congregation are looking for a temporary place to worship after police say that someone deliberately set fire to their church.

Prosecutors have charged a 22-year-old Joseph Gazafy with arson in connection to the fire which severely damaged the Church of Jesus Christ Outreach Restoration Branch near Crysler and Linden around 1:45 a.m. on Friday morning.

According to police, Gazafy called police around an hour after the fire started to confess starting the blaze. Police say that Gazafy told detectives that he was in the mood for a midnight fire, and wanted to get his family’s attention.

In addition, police say that Gazafy told them, “I think I should be able to burn down a church if I want.”

“We’re just grateful no one was injured and our hearts go out the congregation and the pastor,” said Tom Gentry of the Independence Police Department. “It’s a traumatic thing for anyone.”

Police say that Gazafy broke out a window and used gasoline to start the fire in the church’s basement. Assistant Pastor Robert Bobbitt says that there’s extensive soot and smoke damage throughout the building.

“People come together when something like this happens,” said Bobbitt. “The neighborhood comes together. Churches come together, the community pitches in and I think good things are going to happen.”



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Category: Church Security

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