Rochester church fire declared arson, law enforcement asks help finding suspect

Law enforcement officials in Rochester are asking help from the public in locating the suspect of what they believe to be an arson following a fire at a church last month.

On April 18, crews were dispatched to a fire around 2 a.m. at Peace United Church of Christ, located at 1503 2nd Ave NE. The church suffered extensive damage, exceeding $2.5 million, according to a press release. 

An investigation conducted by the Rochester Police Department and Rochester Fire Department have since indicated that the fire was a result of arson. 

According to its site, Peace United Church of Christ is under the umbrella of the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The church is part of the United Church of Christ denomination and its mission statement says, "We share the word of God and spread the love of Christ to all. We are a progressive, inclusive church that embraces God’s love for all people. Jesus was all about love – and we are too."

Tips can be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or the Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020.

Authorities plan to hold a press conference Thursday morning outside the church.