Incident Summary:

03/26/2019: An assailant set fire to St. Mary Baptist Church near Port Barre, Louisiana, United States. There were no reported casualties in the attack. Authorities arrested Holden Matthews who claimed responsibility for this and two other related arson attacks targeting African American Baptist churches on April 2, 2019 and April 4, 2019. Sources suspected that the attack was racially motivated and noted that Holden Matthews was charged with a federal hate crime. Sources also reported that in a Facebook post, Matthews wrote that he could not "stand all these Baptists around here, bunch of brainwashed people trying to find happiness in a religion that was forced on their ancestors just as it was on mine."



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


Near Port Barre

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity St. Mary Baptist Church
Specific Description Church
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
Gasoline was used in the attack.
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) No
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
White supremacists/nationalists (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Personal claim)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Black metal musician admits burning US churches," BBC, February 11, 2020.
"Police arrest suspect in ‘suspicious’ fires that burned 3 black churches in southern Louisiana," Washington Post, April 11, 2019.
"Louisiana church burnings "didn't burn down our spirit”," Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 8, 2019.