Months after three crosses were set on fire at a church in Sylmar, the Los Angeles City Council has approved a $50,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of those responsible.
The fires happened on July 6 at Christian Fellowship Church on the 1300 block of Polk Street, some time between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.
A neighbor spotted the burning crosses and used the church’s garden hose to douse the flames before crews arrived on scene.
The fires were immediately investigated as arson, with special consideration that they were set as an act of hate.
On Tuesday, months after the fires shocked the neighboring community, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a news release, calling the crime a “malicious act” and announcing the reward.
The church is predominantly Black and Latino, and the LAPD release again identifies the incident as a hate crime. However, some previous reports have indicated that that was no longer being considered as a possible motive.
The church’s pastor, Pierre Howard, said he didn’t believe the church was targeted due to the race of the congregation, rather he said the arson was an individual “attack on God and Christianity.”
“There’s nothing that signifies that it was more than a crime of opportunity of a person who was not happy with God,” Howard said back in July.
The crosses have stood outside Sylmar Christian for eight years. Neighbors said they often see people kneeling in front of them.
Howard vowed not to let this crime stop the church from displaying crosses on the property.
Anyone with information was urged to call Major Crimes Division detectives Razo-Banting and Allen Major at 213-486-6270. Anonymous tips can be submitted online or by calling 800-222-8477.