$50,000 reward for a suspect ID in cross burnings at Sylmar church

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $50,000 reward Friday for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible for setting three wooden crosses on fire on the front lawn of a Sylmar church.

The council approved this motion in a 13-0 vote. The motion was introduced following the Los Angeles Police Department's investigation into the crime that occurred on July 6.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a 5 a.m. report of a rubbish fire outside the Sylmar Christian Fellowship Church.

When the fire department arrived at the Polk St. location, officials found only smoldering wood crosses that had been toppled over, according to officials.

According to authorities, the crosses appeared to have been doused in lighter fluid before being set on fire.

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No injuries were reported.

At this point, there is no indication that this alleged arson hate crime is related to any other arson or hate crime series, according to officials.

Church Pastor Pierre Howard previously said that he did not necessarily agree with officials' ruling and did not believe the incident to be a hate crime.

He said the church serves an array of different communities, including Latino and Black congregants and has never had any previous issues during its nearly 30 years of existence.

"We have no issues," Howard said earlier in the year. "I think it's someone at a bad moment in time made a bad decision. I hope that's what it is. It's a shame that people still want to do things like this."


The church does have video security, but Howard said the footage was not helpful in identifying any suspects.

Authorities ask that anyone with information on this incident call Det. Allen at 213-486-6270. Anonymous tips can be made through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or lacrimestoppers.org.

Los Angeles police previously stated LAFD arson investigators "confirmed an accelerant was used to commit the arson. Extensive investigative efforts were conducted at the scene following this incident and the investigation is ongoing. At this point, there is no indication that this arson hate crime is related to any arson or hate crime series."