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Arrest Made in Oklahoma Church Fire

June 15, 1996| Associated Press

ENID, Okla. — Police arrested a 35-year-old man Friday night in connection with the latest in a string of fires that have damaged or destroyed black churches.

Christopher Harper, a local man, was being held on an arson complaint, Police Capt. Jim Hood said. He wouldn't say what led police to the arrest or what might have motivated Harper to destroy the First Missionary Baptist Church early Thursday.

Although Harper is white, Hood said investigators do not think the burning was racially motivated.

"I'm not upset. I'm not mad," said the Rev. Ivy Haynes Jr., associate pastor. "I want whoever did it to know that we still love them. That's not to say it's not stupid and silly."

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