Incident Summary:

11/05/2008: On Wednesday night at or around 0300, three men later identified as Benjamin Haskell, Michael F. Jacques Jr., and Thomas Gleason Jr., set fire to the mostly completed Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a black church, in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of America, in an attempt to retaliate for the electing of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. The three used two five-gallon gasoline cans and walked across the street to set fire to the church, and then fled the scene. Two firefighters were injured while putting out the fire.

GTD ID:
200811050008

When:
2008-11-05

Country:
United States

Region:
North America

Province/administrative
region/u.s. state:

Massachusetts

City:
Springfield

Location Details:
The fire occurred at a church on Tinkham road in Springfield.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Macedonia Church of God in Christ
Specific Description The church was a notable black church.
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
The extremists used two five-gallon gasoline cans.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Other Crime Type
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Unknown No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 3
Number of Captured Perpetrators 3
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 2
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Sources
Associated Press, "Investigators Seek Cause of Mass. Church Fire," Lexis Nexis, Associated Press, November 5th, 2008.
Boston Globe, "Church Arson Tied to Racism," Boston Globe, January 17th, 2009.