Authorities announced charges against a suspected arsonist whom investigators believe ignited the overnight fire that gutted much of Mission San Gabriel last July.
Fifty-seven-year-old John David Corey Jr. was arrested last year for another, “unrelated” arson attack in the San Gabriel Valley that took place days after the July 11, 2020 fire at the mission.
“It was during this separate incident that investigators deemed Mr. Corey a person of interest in the Mission San Gabriel case,”’ according to a statement from the San Gabriel Fire Department. “After a thorough investigation, investigators determined that Corey was responsible for the fire at the Mission San Gabriel.”
Corey was charged Tuesday morning with two felony counts of arson of an inhabited structure and one count each of arson during a state of emergency, possession of flammable material, and first-degree residential burglary. He faces up to 14 years in state prison if convicted.
Officials announced the break in the case at a press conference Tuesday outside the mission, where restoration work is underway ahead of jubilee celebrations marking its 250th anniversary set to start in September. The announcement caps a nearly ten-month investigation by the Verdugo Fire Investigation Task Force that also involved federal FBI and ATF investigators….
According to San Gabriel City Councilwoman Denise Menchaca, investigators took their time in announcing Corey’s arrest due to the overwhelming amount of “theories” and “noise” surrounding the fire….
The above comes from a May 4 story in Angelus News.