News, sports and entertainment for Richland Parish, La.

Juvenile held as suspect in church arson

The Richland Parish Sheriff’s Department received a call about a fire at a church on Venable Road near Start at 9:53 a.m. Oct. 21.
When RPSO Deputies arrived along with local fire departments, they found the church fully in flames. Deputies talked to witnesses on the scene who stated they saw and talked to a young white male driving a White Entergy Truck that left the scene of the fire.
The information was sent to other local law enforcement agencies in the area. Entergy of Louisiana personnel was very helpful in gathering information and locating the Entergy truck.
The vehicle was located in Caldwell Parish along with a white juvenile suspect who was driving the vehicle.
The juvenile was taken in custody by the Caldwell Parish Sheriff’s Department. The juvenile has been arrested in Caldwell Parish on several charges including the theft of two Entergy vehicles. The Richland Parish Sheriff Department has warrants for the arrest of this juvenile suspect for the arson of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
The State Fire Marshall’s Office has taken over the arson charges in this case.
“I would like to thank all fire fighters and the Caldwell Parish Sheriff Department for their assistance in this matter,” Richland Parish Sheriff Gary Gilley said.
A fund has been established to help rebuild the church’s sanctuary.
Anyone can make a deposit into the Benefit Account for Saint Paul Baptist Church at Richland State Bank locations in Rayville, Mangham, Monroe, West Monroe, Oak Grove, Bastrop and Minden.
The church congregation had struggled for many years to construct and open a new sanctuary and they finally succeeded in doing so earlier this year. In fact, the church stood partially constructed for many years.

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