Incident Summary:

04/02/2019: An assailant set fire to Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana, United States. There were no reported casualties in the attack. Holden Matthews, an unaffiliated individual, confessed to carrying out the attack and stated that he carried out the attack in order to gain attention for his black metal music. Matthews was charged with a federal hate crime and sources suspected that the attack was racially motivated. Sources also noted that Mathews wrote in a Facebook post 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:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Greater Union Baptist Church
Specific Description 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 Arson/Fire
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 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.