Social Circle Provides A Closer Look At Suspects

| February 22, 2010

Church arson suspect Jason Bourque shares a philosophy of seizing opportunities and is a fan of a page with hundreds of images of raging bonfires, his postings on social network sites suggest.

Bourque, 19, of Lindale, and Daniel George McAllister, 21, of Ben Wheeler, are in Smith County Jail, each on a $10 million bond.

Both are Van High School graduates.

On his MySpace page at, Bour-que refers to himself as Mr. Brightside. According to his most recent mood post, he lists his mood as amused. He last logged in Feb. 11.

Bourque indicates that he graduated from Van High School in 2008 and that while there, he was active in FFA, debate and the Bible Club.

Bourque qualified for the National Forensics League national speech tournament in 2008.

Sarah Hunt was on the debate squad at Van.

"He seemed like a quiet kid, and he took debate very seriously. He seemed to work very hard at it. He seemed to socialize well with the other debaters, not abnormal in any way," Ms. Hunt said. "Sometimes, little things would make him mad. He could be kind of intense, when he was focused on something."

Sunday's news surprised her.

"I was shocked, that's for sure," Ms. Hunt said. "He didn't strike me that way at all. I wouldn't think of him as a threat to society, or someone who would lash out."

Taylor Jewell was a student at Good Shepherd School in Tyler and often competed with Bourque in academic events including debate and Student Congress. Jewell said he was surprised to hear of Bourque's arrest.

"He never struck me as someone who would go out and do something like this," he said. "I wouldn't call him odd, but maybe a little more nerdy. Definitely not someone I'd think would ever be arrested for something like this."

On his MySpace page, Bourque cites two quotations: "Death is more universal than life, everyone dies but not everyone lives." And, "The opportunity of a lifetime has to be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity."

He wrote on his MySpace page that his heroes are "all of those who live and die defending what they believe."

On his Facebook page, Bourque is a fan of a bonfire page that contains 569 images of bonfires, including many showing people watching huge fires burn at night.

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Category: Church Security

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