GoFundMe page for burned Greenville church exceeds goal - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

GoFundMe page for burned Greenville church exceeds goal

Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News Source: Angie Quezada, Delta Daily News
GREENVILLE, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Authorities are investigating the burning and vandalism of a historic African American church in Greenville as a hate crime.

The words “Vote Trump” were spray painted on the side of the charred building, leading many around the nation to call it a "crime of race".

The GoFundMe page created to help the church exceeded all expectations, raking in more than $170,000 in donations as of Thursday afternoon.

The initial goal was $10,000.

Hopewell Baptist Church made headlines nationwide on Tuesday when it lost more than 80 percent of its historic, 111-year-old halls to unknown arsonists. The desecration of the historic African American church is being investigated as a hate crime. 

Both state and federal resources have been brought in to help with investigation. Law enforcement officials said there was a person of interest, but no official suspect.

"We feel that the quote that was placed on the church is basically an intimidation of someone's right to vote, whatever way they choose to vote," said Greenville Police Chief Delandro Wilson.

Greenville’s mayor, Errick Simmons, said the crime was an “attack on the black church.” He also made this statement:

"We know that this is one of most racially-charged elections in the history of this country. The burning of Hopewell M.B. Church is still under investigation as a hate crime.  Historically, the burning of places of worship has been investigated as hate crimes. This church burning was no different; it is a direct assault on the Hopewell congregation’s right to freely worship.  Given that it is a black church, this act could be racially motivated.  Given the words left on the side of the church, it could be politically motivated.  At this time, I don’t know what the motivation is. That conclusion will be determined by this investigation. I do know we have a great team of local, state, and federal law enforcements agencies investigating this crime to bring the culprit to justice.  We will not rest until the culprit, be they male, female, black, white, Republican, or Democrat; is found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."   

"The only things that conquers hate is love, said Mayor Simmons. "And what we have to do as residents of this community is come together and show love."

Police Chief Delando Wilson said that the police and fire departments of Greenville are collaborating with ATF, FBI and MBI to conduct a very thorough investigation. They will be investigating all angles of this incident but there aren't any charges or arrests at this time. The chief said that the person of interest they questioned volunteered to be interviewed.

A reward of $11,000 dollars is now being offered for anyone with information about this crime. If you have any information on this crime, please call Crimestoppers at 662-378-8477.

The church is using the unfortunate attention to spread a message of forgiveness.

"Whatever happens. We don't carry grudges, no way. We forgive. We believe in unlimited forgiveness," said Bishop Clarence Green.

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