IMPD searching for arson suspect who started fire in a church building

Crime in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS- Police are looking for the person who set a church building on fire.

Just before 6 a.m. on March 4, someone broke into the fellowship hall behind Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene on the city’s southside.

“It’s frustrating as a pastor,” said Randy Gentry, pastor at Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene.

Pastor Gentry believes the fire started in the room where kids and teenagers met for youth group.

“It’s been built by blood, sweat and tears and then somebody comes and does something horrendous,” said Pastor Gentry.

The fellowship hall is also used for other church and community gatherings. A memorial dinner was planned a week after the fire.  It was the first major event since the pandemic.

“I hope he knows he did wrong. There is a certain amount of restitution, making things right,” said Pastor Gentry.

IMPD is investigating the case. There are surveillance cameras all over the building. They’ve been installed for a few years after equipment was stolen and windows were broken. This recent incident is by far the most damaging.  Pastor Gentry says surveillance footage shows the suspect was on the property for hours before starting the fire.

“Evil is everywhere. I don’t know if it was just a thrill or accomplishment, a gang thing? I don’t know. You never know. But God knows,” says Pastor Gentry.

“It’s not going to make us quit. There’s still a purpose and a job to do. So, we are going to continue and do what we’re supposed to do,” said Pastor Gentry.

Just as much as Pastor Gentry believes in accountability, his faith has also taught him to forgive.

“I believe there’s forgiveness in that, maybe, someday I pray someone will come into his life and reach him and help him

The church is still working with the insurance company to figure out the next steps.  

If you recognize the person in the surveillance pictures or know anything that can help detectives, call 317-262-TIPS.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News