Shock at arrest of deputy’s son in black church fires

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — No known criminal record. No known history of violence. One friend called him an introverted animal lover. Another said he was a “very sweet guy” with a racially diverse group of friends.

But 21-year-old Holden Matthews is now the lone suspect in the torching of three African American churches in and around Opelousas, Louisiana.

The arrest of the son of a local sheriff’s deputy shocked two friends who spoke to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, pastors of the churches expressed relief that the mystery had apparently been solved.


McGill reported from New Orleans and Opelousas. Associated Press writers Stacey Plaisance in Opelousas, and Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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