A member of the pro-Nazi group White Lives Matter of Ohio was arrested on Friday after he allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at a church that was planning to hold a drag event.
Investigators say that on March 25, Aimenn Penny threw Molotov cocktails at the Community Church of Chesterland, which is just outside of Cleveland. The attack burned the church and broke a sign, but it didn’t do any serious damage.
Penny was charged with starting a fire and having a weapon.
FBI investigators say he was a well-known member of the White Lives Matter group. This group protested a drag show in Ohio earlier this month with swastika flags, slurs, and praise for Hitler.
Investigators say that Penny, who is white, told police at that event that he is waiting for a national race war and that he thinks all other races need to be wiped out for the U.S. to do well.
On Saturday, a drag event will be held at the Community Church of Chesterland. The church says it has received many complaints and threats about the event, and a Facebook post from church leaders says they expect “potentially violent hate groups” to protest.
Investigators were able to find Penny’s phone at the church on the night of the arson after the attack. The FBI then searched his home and car on Friday and talked to Penny, who told investigators what he had done, after which they arrested him.
He told the police that he wanted to “protect children and stop the drag show event.”
“Penny said that after watching online videos of news feeds and drag shows in France, he got angrier and angrier that night and decided to attack the church,” the arresting complaint says. Penny said he would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails had worked better and burned down the whole church.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Member of pro-Nazi group arrested for allegedly firebombing church planning drag event https://t.co/6u7UoSgPIF pic.twitter.com/YBgC3IRHsZ
— The Hill (@thehill) April 1, 2023
When his house was searched, police found swastika flags, a shirt that said “While Lives Matter of Ohio,” and things that could be used to make Molotov cocktails.
Shortly after the arrest, the church said something on its Facebook page.
“We’re sorry this happened and forgive the person involved, but we’d like to see him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to show other like-minded people and groups that using violence as a way to force people to do what you want in 2023 is not acceptable,” they said.
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