Man sought after setting fire at church night of Christmas

  • Authorities are looking for this man who set fire to Solid Rock Baptist Church on Wednesday, Dec. 25. (Photo courtesy White County Sheriff's Office)
    Authorities are looking for this man who set fire to Solid Rock Baptist Church on Wednesday, Dec. 25. (Photo courtesy White County Sheriff's Office)
  • Authorities are looking for this man who set fire to Solid Rock Baptist Church on Wednesday, Dec. 25. (Photo courtesy White County Sheriff's Office)
    Authorities are looking for this man who set fire to Solid Rock Baptist Church on Wednesday, Dec. 25. (Photo courtesy White County Sheriff's Office)
  • The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
    The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
  • The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
    The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
  • The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
    The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
  • The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
    The backside of Solid Rock Baptist Church was damaged after an unidentified man set fire to it. (Photo/Stephanie Hill)
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The White County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who set a fire at Solid Rock Baptist Church on Christmas.

Surveillance video from the church showed an unidentified white male going to the backside of the church, tossing gas on the building and lighting it between 9:40 p.m. and 9:47 p.m. on Christmas Day, according to WCSO Capt. Rick Kelley.

An incident report filed the following day stated the suspect was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, appeared to have dark hair, a beard, was between 5’8” and 6’2” tall, and weighed approximately 200 pounds. Kelley said the suspect was driving a dark in color four-door passenger car. The report stated that when the suspect left, his car turned onto Ga. 115 and headed into Lumpkin County.

“Nobody knows this guy,” said Kevin Holman, pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church. “It’s weird, really weird. (It’s) somebody with a troubled heart.”

The WCSO report stated that the video showed the man pace back and forth a few times while he was looking around the building. He then splashed the liquid from the small gas can he had onto the building. After this, he ignited the liquid and the building caught on fire. While doing this, fire also ignited on his right leg, causing the man to take off his shoe, extinguished it and then collect it.

The fire burned itself out, causing only cosmetic damage to the exterior, and was discovered the next day, Kelley said. Arson Investigator Brian Smith was called to investigate the scene, according to the report.

Holman said the damage was to the siding and a window, and that the church is hoping to get it repaired within the next week or two. Despite this happening on Christmas, Holman said there’s no bad feelings toward the suspect.

“We’re looking for what was attempted to be a bad thing. We’re expecting the good from the Lord. That’s what we’re expecting,” Holman said. “There’s no ill will or bad malice toward the young man. I just hope he finds Jesus."

As of Monday, Dec. 30, Kelley said investigators are following up on some leads. Anyone with information related to the case can call the White County Sheriff’s Office at 706-865-5177.