Julie Humphreys, Public Safety Communication Manager, 509.625.5868
Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 3:28 p.m.
Spokane Police arrest a man in connection with last week’s fire at a north Spokane church
22 year old Rio Antonio Mirabal was apprehended without incident in the Spokane Valley on Friday afternoon March 26, 2021 and charged with 1st degree arson. The arrest is in connection to a fire at St. Charles Church on March 18th, 2021. Additional charges are pending. Mirabal was identified following a tip from a community member after SPD released surveillance video of Mirabal yesterday afternoon. Forensic evidence collected at the scene connected Mirabal to the burglary/arson. Mirabal has two prior misdemeanor convictions not related to arson. Mirabal does not list a current address.
The investigation into the fire was a collaboration between the Spokane Police Department, the Spokane Fire Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), culminating in the arrest by SPD today. Thank you to media who put out the suspect pictures and to community members who provided information on the case.
Mirabal remains in the Spokane County Jail this afternoon.
Original Release 3/25/21:
SPD needs your help in identifying a suspect in a fire at a church last week
Spokane Police are releasing pictures and video of a man suspected of burglary and arson in a fire at St. Charles Church on Alberta in North Spokane just after 1:30am on March 18, 2021. After the fire was lit, the suspect walked around neighborhoods in the area tearing up and burning a bible. Pieces of the bible were left on and in numerous vehicles including some in the area of 2300 W Rockwell and 2600 W Lacrosse.
SPD is asking residents of the area to check their surveillance cameras between 1:00am and 2:00am on the morning of March 18th. Also, if people found items on/in their vehicles – particularly bible pages or related items – SPD requests you contact us to pick up the items. Please direct all information through Crime Check at 456-2233 and reference report #2021-20042583.
The suspect was wearing a unique gray and purple respirator as he walked around. The fire heavily damaged the administrative offices of the church and church school and forced closure of the school and of church services last weekend. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze. A priest who was sleeping in his living quarters in the building was awakened and got out safety thanks to an SPD officer who first noticed the fire when he pulled into the parking lot of St. Charles, called fire crews, and banged on windows and doors to rouse anyone who might be in the building.
View surveillance video of the suspect.
Officer John O'Brien