Man charged in fire that ripped through historic San Gabriel Mission causing ‘immeasurable’ loss

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The interior of the San Gabriel Mission is damaged following a morning fire, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in San Gabriel. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The interior of the San Gabriel Mission is damaged following a morning fire, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in San Gabriel. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

A man has been charged with arson in connection with a devastating fire that ripped through the historic San Gabriel Mission last summer, causing millions of dollars in damages, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

“The loss to the mission was in the millions of dollars but the loss to the community is immeasurable,” L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

John David Corey, aka “Joker,” is facing two felony counts of arson of an inhabited structure and one count each of arson during a state of emergency, first-degree residential burglary and possession of flammable material, the DA’s office reported.

Prosecutors say Corey broke into the historic mission and set it on fire.

The early morning fire, which broke out at the 249-year-old church on 428 S. Mission Drive on July 11, 2020, burned the roof of the mission and much of the Catholic church’s interior.

It also left a hole in the hearts of many parishioners.

Firefighters from the San Gabriel Fire Department responded to the blaze that day just after 4:30 a.m.

In December 2020, crews began installing a temporary roof at the beloved church to protect it from the rainy season.

The case remains under investigation by the San Gabriel Fire Department.

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