Mike Pence to visit heads of burned black Louisiana churches

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit with community and faith leaders near Opelousas, Louisiana, where three black churches were destroyed by an arsonist.

News outlets report the White House says Pence will tour the remains of one of the churches on Friday and meet with Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy. The Rev. Gerald Toussaint says he and reverends from the other burned churches will also be meeting with the vice president.

A local sheriff’s deputy’s 21-year-old son, Holden Matthews, has been charged in the March and April burnings with offenses including arson. He’s pleaded not guilty and is set to appear in court Thursday for a bond hearing.

A crowdfunding campaign for the churches’ restoration has raised more than $2.1 million.

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