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Friday, March 24, 2023

Colorado Man Charged and Detained in Connection with Arson Church Fire

A doorbell camera at the church captured a masked individual throwing a “Molotov-cocktail”-type destructive device at the church’s front door.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced that Darion Ray Sexton, age 21, of Loveland, has been arrested and charged by criminal complaint with causing damage to a Loveland church by fire. Sexton was ordered detained pending trial by United States Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara. Sexton had been arrested and charged in a criminal complaint filed on January 23, 2023.

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, in the late evening of January 19, 2023, law enforcement responded to an active fire at Abiding Love Lutheran Church in Loveland, Colorado. First responders extinguished a fire at the front door of the church and then found evidence of another fire in the church basement, which appeared to have been extinguished by the emergency sprinkler system. A broken glass bottle was recovered from the front door near the fire, and the area smelled like gasoline. In the basement, another broken bottle was found, along with a partially melted plastic bottle. Analysis from the ATF indicated that the areas of fire damage were separate and concluded there were multiple areas of fire origin. A doorbell camera at the church captured a masked individual throwing a “Molotov-cocktail”-type destructive device at the church’s front door.

Footprints in the snow near the church led to a neighborhood and to the defendant’s residence. Law enforcement later found a plastic bottle at the defendant’s home that was similar to the plastic bottle found in the church basement. Additionally, law enforcement reviewed video from a Loveland liquor store two days prior to the fire showing a man who appears to be the defendant purchasing liquor bottles similar to the broken glass bottles found at the church.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Loveland Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Fields is handling the prosecution.

Read more at ATF

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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