Fort Pierce church arson caught on video leads to arrest of suspect

Posted at 7:59 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 05:37:45-04

A 38-year-old Fort Pierce man has been arrested and charged with arson after a surveillance video showed him starting a fire early Thursday morning at Indian River Presbyterian Church on Virginia Avenue, according to the Fort Pierce Police Department. 

Officials say a church employee entered the building at about 8 a.m. and smelled smoke. The employee soon discovered burn damage to the floor and doors on the west side of the church and called police. 

The security video shows a man pouring fluid on the outside of the doors and starting a fire with a cigarette lighter.

Detective Ludmila Quintao noticed during the investigation that the suspect in the video was wearing casual slippers and might  be someone who lived nearby.

Detectives brought a photo made from the security video to a nearby residential complex within view of the church. Someone at the complex identified the suspect from the photo, so detectives went to his apartment, officials said. 

The suspect, Tyquaris Ward, of the 2400 block of S. 25th St., came to the door still wearing the same clothes he was wearing in the video. He was taken to the Fort Pierce Police Department Thursday afternoon and charged with arson. 

The investigation is ongoing.