Biloxi church vandalized again; investigators searching for suspects

Officials are investigating after one Biloxi church is vandalized for the second time in just three days.
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 10:22 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Just three days after suffering a break-in, vandalism and robbery on Tuesday, one Biloxi church was hit again on Thursday: this time, by gunfire.

Pastor Gary Johnson worked to clean his place of worship, Miracle Temple AOH Church of God, following the initial damage, but a second police report was filed just days later.

“We’re asking the community to pray with us, and also if they know something, seen something, or heard anything to let us know,” he said.

Johnson returned to his sanctuary Thursday to find at least 10 bullet holes through the glass windows.

“It’s heartbreaking to even think and to know that individuals have that type of spirit,” he said.

When WLOX first arrived to the scene on Tuesday, door locks appeared busted, the inside was trashed with beer cans, half-eaten nachos and other garbage, instruments were destroyed, evidence of an attempted fire was found inside the bathroom and distinct markings reading ‘13′ branded the exterior of the building.

“We have begun the cleanup on the inside,” Johnson said. “We got a lot more to do. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of finances.”

While investigators work to get to the bottom of it, Johnson is still holding on to his faith.

“We believe God is gonna see us through the situation,” he said.

Miracle Temple has been in the community for more than 80 years. It is located on Spanner Lane, which is a dead-end road in a residential area.

With no roadway to the side of the building, it likely was not a drive-by shooting.

“According to law enforcement today (Thursday), somewhere in this general area here is where they found the evidence that they gathered under this tree,” said Pastor Johnson.

In the meantime, all worship services are suspended for its 15 to 20 members.

“What may happen to myself or my congregation while we’re inside of the church?” Johnson asked. “I do not want to put my members in that situation right now. I’m going to look out for my members. I’m going to look out for this community, as God sent me to do.”

This is a developing story and an active investigation. WLOX will update this story as new information becomes available.

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