BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – New video of an attempted arson shows a suspect allegedly trying to set the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Berkeley on fire.
The pastor told KRON4 that it is painful to imagine why anyone would try to do this.
This is now the second time in the last year that someone has targeted a prominent Black church with arson.
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is in a building that’s a hundred years old and an unknown woman was caught on video trying to destroy it.
In the early morning hours of August 14th, an unidentified woman is seen launching bricks at the church but the disturbing act of vandalism does not stop there.
She is also seen attempting to set the building on fire.
“We were just grateful that the light wasn’t able to take, that the flame didn’t catch,” Pastor Kevin Craddock II said.
Pastor Kevin Craddock II is the lead pastor at the church.
He reviewed the video from the church’s surveillance camera on August 15th after noticing damage on the building’s windows.
What he witnessed was appalling.
“It was very very painful. We couldn’t believe that this was happening,” Craddock said.
Video shows over the course of several minutes the woman continues her brick-throwing barrage but it’s the suspected lighter fluid squirted into the grass and the failed effort to light it that sent the pastor’s emotions on a rollercoaster.
“Being an African American church we know our history of the churches and the church bombings and setting fire to churches that were of African-American descent and worship centers,” Craddock said.
Last summer, nearby “The Way Christian Center” was the target of an arson attack.
The pastor told KRON4 in July 2020 he believed it was because of their stance on racial injustice.
“While we don’t know whether or not this attack was racially motivated, it understandably has people upset and it does strike a deep nerve in the community,” Ben Bartlett said.
Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett says racism is a form of mental illness and while he hopes police catch this unknown woman, Pastor Craddock is willing to help her.
“We definitely need to know who this young lady is. We want to help her and I believe that you can live in harmony when they are in harmony,” Craddock said.
Berkeley police are handling this investigation. Anyone with any information is encouraged to give them a call.