- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on the arson and vandalism of a black church in Mississippi (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

A Mississippi police chief says officers are interviewing a “person of interest” about the burning of an African-American church that was spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump.”

Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson says the man voluntarily spoke to investigators for several hours Wednesday and Thursday. Wilson declined to identify him and stopped short of calling him suspect. The chief says the man was not accompanied by an attorney.

Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was heavily damaged by the fire Tuesday night.

Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. says evidence of arson was found and samples of an accelerant have been sent to the state crime lab.

Mayor Errick Simmons says a multiracial group of local residents have held a prayer service and another is scheduled for this weekend.

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10 a.m.

An online fundraiser has netted more than $150,000 for an African-American church in Mississippi that was torched Tuesday and spray-painted with the message, “Vote Trump.”

The GoFundMe page hosting the fundraiser was created Wednesday with a goal of bringing in $10,000 to repair the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville. By Thursday morning it had raised nearly $157,000 in donations.

The organizer of the campaign says money has been coming in from people of different faiths across the globe. He says he has been in touch with the church’s leader in order to get it registered as the beneficiary for the money.

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3:50 a.m.

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the arson and vandalism of an African-American church in Mississippi, where “Vote Trump” was spray-painted on an outside wall.

Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire and graffiti a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

The fire blackened the sanctuary’s pews, pulpit and walls, but the shell of the church is still standing.

Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. estimated that it was 80 percent destroyed. He says authorities are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of whoever did it.

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