Tucson police arrest suspect in church arson - WNEM TV 5

Tucson police arrest suspect in church arson

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(Source: Tucson Police Department) (Source: Tucson Police Department)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Authorities arrested a local woman suspected of starting a fire at a church.

Police said Tucson police detectives Joe Wall and Brad Cheney were on duty around 2:30 p.m. on April 17 in their unmarked police vehicle when they saw smoke rising from Holy Family Catholic Church.

The church reverend, Canon Richard Von Menshengen, was there since morning to prepare for the week's liturgy when he was alerted to the fire.

"The church bell rang and the secretary opened it and a police detective said your church is on fire! You have to evacuate!" Von Menshengen said.

The detectives immediately called the Tucson Fire Department and evacuated the church in the 300 block of W. University Blvd, near Speedway and Interstate 10. The reverend and two volunteers escaped without injury.

Special Investigation/Arson Unit and TFD Fire Investigations Unit detectives determined clothes and books were intentionally set on fire in the downstairs stairwell near the front of the church, according to Tucson police. Upon further investigation, they found information to identify 35-year-old Glenda Jean Gomez as a suspect.

Authorities booked Gomez into the Pima County Jail on April 21 on charges of arson of an occupied structure and felony criminal damage.

Von Menshengen said Gomez was not a member of the parish.

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