(NBC News) – A predominantly black church in North Carolina was intentionally set ablaze, authorities said.
Charlotte fire officials are looking into whether Wednesday morning’s arson at Briar Creek Baptist Church was a hate crime, NBC station WCNC reported. Although there were no initial indications that the crime was motivated by hate, officials haven’t ruled it out, fire investigator David Williams told the station.
The blaze caused about $250,000 in damage.
Pastor Mannix Kinsey said the church’s congregation has already forgiven the culprit. “Buildings can be repaired, they can be built over,” Kinsey told WCNC. “This is the opportunity for God to touch the hearts of individuals.”