Man detained after climbing atop Boyle Heights church, sparking fire on cross

Local news

Authorities detained a suspect after a man was captured on aerial video setting fire to a cross on top of a church in Boyle Heights Wednesday night.

Firefighters and police were on scene outside St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 407 S. Chicago St. by 8:25 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.

The man, who appeared to be clad in only boxers and socks, was on top of a bell tower trying to start a fire when Sky5 arrived above the scene around 8:45 p.m. However, the flames failed to spread past the apex of the roof.

He eventually scaled down scaffolding surrounding the tower shortly after 9 p.m., heading across the church’s main roof before jumping across to other roofs in the neighborhood. At one point, he was even seen climbing an electrical wire.

Police were tracking the man’s movements, and shortly after 10 p.m. a suspect was taken into custody outside a residential building.

Paramedics subsequently transported the man to the hospital, LAFD said. It was unclear if he required treatment or was being evaluated.

Fire officials remained at the church late Wednesday night, and an arson investigation was underway.

No further details were immediately available.

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