Investigators from the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section (ACTS) and detectives/officers from the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD), and ATF are announcing an arrest in connection with an arson fire last week, that destroyed a church and injured three firefighters.
Following a devastating fire at the historic Victory Baptist Church on September 11, 2022, LAFD Arson Investigators and the multi-agency House of Worship Arson Task Force initiated an investigation into the fire's cause. Initial information did not immediately reveal any evidence of an intentionally set fire, however, their persistence later uncovered security footage to help connect the dots.
The LAFD ACTS was involved in a joint surveillance operation in the South Los Angeles area on September 18, 2022, with the LASPD plain clothes officers and ATF. The operation successfully apprehended an arson suspect - Carlos Diaz, a 23-year-old unhoused male, is initially being charged with Penal Code 451C - arson of a structure - with additional charges pending. The fire resulted in significant damage to the historic church and injuries to LAFD firefighters battling the blaze.
The faithful investigators from several agencies worked hard to put the pieces together to apprehend the suspect and quickly get him off the streets, with the help of key eyewitness testimony.
If you see someone actively committing arson, please dial 9-1-1 and report the fire/crime. If you have evidence, information, or concerns about a past arson incident, but the act is not underway (there is no current fire/emergency), please report that to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or go online at lacrimstoppers.org.