AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Amherst police say a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a door at a local church.
Amherst police captain Enzo Villalta says is too early in the investigation to say whether this is vandalism or a hate crime. The person threw the cocktail through the front door, setting a small fire and flooding the entry-way. The sprinkler system put out the fire. At the scene, police say chapel staff were visibly upset.
Captain Enzo Villalta says, “There’s no way to stop it from happening again except for catching the person who did it this time. We will conduct our investigation, it’s a very serious matter anytime somebody uses a firebomb particularly to religious facility.”
Amherst Police and the Getzville Fire Co. responded to a fire alarm at the Chapel at Crosspoint around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.
Upon arrival it was discovered that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through a glass door and started a fire within a vestibule which caused $10,000 in damage. The sprinkler system put out the fire.
Police say they will use surveillance video from the chapel and area businesses to find who is responsible..
Captain Villalta says its possible the person who did this vocalized what they did. Now he is asking neighbors to speak up if they hear anything.
Villalta says, “Listen to the people that rant and rave on Facebook or other social media sites. Usually these things don’t come out of the blue. Somebody had said something in the past, if you just pay attention.”
The Chapel at Crosspoint says that they will be cleaned up and ready to worship Sunday morning. Jerry Gillis, lead pastor, released the below statement late Saturday morning,
“As the authorities continue to investigate the minor damage to our facility and the motive behind it, we are reminded to continue in our mission of sharing the love of Christ with all people and to serving this great community we live in. We look forward to doing just that tomorrow as we gather for worship at our regularly scheduled worship times.”
Amherst Police along with the A.T.F. are currently investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call 689-1364.