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FBI Investigating "IED Attack" at Controversial El Monte Church


Photo Courtesy of FBI

The FBI and other local police agencies are investigating a Saturday morning bombing of a controversial El Monte Church.


Details:

The explosion occurred at about 1:00 a.m. Saturday at the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte, a church reportedly known for anti-LGBT rhetoric.

  • No one was inside the building at the time of the blast, and the FBI says they found an explosive device at the scene.

  • The church's outside walls were vandalized, and police say they saw smoke rising out of the church's window.

  • The LA County Sheriff's Department called the church bombing an "IED attack," requiring bomb experts to examine the scene, per LA Times.

  • Firefighters cleared the scene at about 4:30 a.m.

Before Saturday's explosion: First Works Baptist's pastor, Bruce Mejia, filed a police report two weeks ago after receiving an arson threat on social media, per LA Times.

  • A Change.org petition to remove the church from El Monte has garnered over 15,000 signatures, and the Southern California Law Center lists the church as a hate group.

  • People have protested the church in the past over their anti-LGBT language, including condemning same-sex marriage.

  • The church is part of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, infamously known for celebrating the 2016 Pulse gay nightclub shooting where 49 people were murdered, per NYT.





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