Westland police want help finding man caught on video trying to set One Mission Church on fire

‘Could have destroyed the church,’ Pastor Antonio Wimberly said

Westland church arson attempt caught on camera

WESTLAND, Mich. – A young man was caught on camera trying to set a church on fire.

Police are hoping someone can help identify him before he strikes again.

The pastor of One Mission Church said he believes in forgiveness, but wants the young man to face consequences.

“Could have destroyed the church and that would have been devastating,” Pastor Antonio Wimberly said.

The incident happened Monday (May 3) night around 11 p.m. at the doors of One Mission Church on Henry Ruff in Westland.

A young man with a black backpack took out a bottle of lighter fluid, carefully poured it at the base of the church doors and then lit it on fire.

“I thought at first he was trying to break in, but the way it was set up -- it was arson. I am grateful to God. It could have been a lot worse,” Wimberly said.

The fire broke the glass doors. Replacing the glass was expensive for the church of about 70 members. Adding cameras to the security system was also expensive for the church.

Wimberly’s young son helped clean up the mess.

Westland police detectives have been out twice now gathering as much information as they can.

Wimberly said if the young man has mental health issues, One Mission has mental health services.

“He may need some kind of professional help but at the end of the day if you do the crime you do the time,” Wimberly said.

If you have any information contact Westland police.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.