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Man faces hate crime charge in Florida church arson attack

Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 18:40:55-04

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire last year is facing a federal hate crime charge.

Court records show that a federal grand jury in Orlando returned an indictment on Wednesday against 24-year-old Steven Shields.

He’s charged with using fire to commit a felony and intentionally damaging religious property. He also faces state arson and burglary charges.

According to the indictment, Shields intentionally set fire last July to the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said last year that Shields plowed a minivan through the church’s front door, doused the foyer with gasoline and set it on fire.