PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island man was arrested Thursday and charged with using gasoline to set several fires around the exterior of a predominantly Black church in North Providence early Sunday morning.

Kevin Colantonio, 34, of North Providence, was charged with maliciously damaging or destroying by means of fire or explosion a building or other real property, according to Zachary Cunha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island.

Colantonio set several fires around the exterior of the pentecostal Shiloh Gospel Temple early Feb. 11, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Providence, which said police and firefighters were sent to the church at 12:12 a.m. for reports of an individual trying to set fires.

The building was vacant at the time, and the fires were quickly extinguished by members of the North Providence Police and Fire departments, investigators said. The fires caused significant property damage, officials said.

No injuries were reported.

Most of the congregation, which has been established for about 35 years, is Black and African American, according to investigators.

It was not immediately clear if Colantonio had a lawyer. A phone listing for Colantonio could not be found in North Providence.

Colantonio was arrested without incident according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, North Providence Police, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The United States Attorney’s Office sought a criminal complaint late Wednesday, based on what prosecutors described as an ongoing, multi-agency investigation that has included a review of videos, witness interviews, and physical evidence.

The probe into the fires is continuing, investigators said.


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