Community shows support after Jehovah's Witnesses Hall arsons
THUSTON COUNTY, Wash. - Days after an arsonist torched two Jehovah’s Witnesses Halls in Thurston County, police say they've ramped up patrols and there's a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
While police, fire, and the ATF continue to investigate, members of this Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Halls in Olympia and Tumwater say hey hope to move back in by Monday.
Surveillance cameras captured video of a suspect clad in a dark hoodie at the Olympia hall pouring liquid and then moments later, massive flames erupt.
Investigators believe two fire set just miles and minutes apart are connected.
One was at Jehovah's Witness Hall off Cain Hall Monday morning and another one in Tumwater. A third Kingdom Hall in Thurston County recently received an online threat.
Olympia police say the fires follow recent threats to other Jehovah's Witnesses Halls across the country.
Interfaith Works, an umbrella organization of diverse faith communities in Thurston County, said it began responding and talking about the incident right away.
“There's a great deal of concern and empathy for the community that was targeted,” said Interfaith Works Executive Director Daniel Kadden.
On Facebook, they posted a message of support and they say they hope to send a more personal response to the Kingdom Halls soon.
“As the police investigation gets underway, we don't know the motive we don't know the perpetrators. But we know we are strong as a community and our thoughts and prayers go to those who are most directly affected,” said Kadden.
Church members didn't want to comment about the arson or the $10,000 reward offered. But they did say more police officers have been patrolling their Kingdom Halls in the region.
According to the fire department about $15,000 worth of damage was done to the Kingdom Hall in Tumwater and $50,000 in damage in Olympia.