September 22, 2014
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - Two fires - one accompanied by racist graffiti - have struck downtown Bakersfield's Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church a week apart.
Police tell the Bakersfield Californian that the blazes are being investigated as possible hate crimes.
The first fire burned an abandoned storage shed on Sept. 9. The second blaze occurred Monday in a trash bin and scorched an exterior wall without causing any interior damage.
But racial slurs, a swastika and the letters "KKK" were found scrawled on a rear wall.
The Rev. Timothy Coston says the church has been in its current building since the 1950s and has never had racial problems.
Coston notes that although the congregation is predominantly black, it is interracial with members of all backgrounds.
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