PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A man who identified himself as ‘dark Lord’ to police was arrested on Thursday after admitting to burning and urinating on a Bible outside of a Christian-owned homeless shelter in order to ‘curse the Christians.’
Eric Minerault, 22, was taken into custody late Thursday after a representative of the Yavapai Territorial Gospel Rescue Mission in Prescott called police, stating that a man was burning something on their porch.
According to the mission’s Facebook page, Yavapai Territorial Gospel Rescue Mission opened in 2013 “to offer help, hope and healing to the least of these in Yavapai County” and to “aid the homeless and poverty stricken towards a fuller, hopeful, God-filled life.”
When the Prescott police arrived on the scene, they found Minerault standing on the mission steps with a burned and wet Bible near him. Reports state that Minerault was dressed in a black and red robe and was wearing a pentagram necklace.
Police asked Minerault if he had committed the act, and he allegedly confessed, outlining that he targeted the location because it was a place of Christian worship and that he was “cursing the Christians.” When the investigation dug deeper as to the motivation behind doing so, Minerault advised that he was “dark Lord.”
He currently is being held at the Yavapai Detention Center on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful symbol burning.
As previously reported, similar acts were reported in July in Mesa as Bibles were torched on six different occasions since mid-May at area churches. Three of the fires occurred at Mesa Baptist Church, on May 11, 17, and 18. Then, in mid-June, the arsonist burned Christian materials at East Mesa Christian Church, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, and Calvary Baptist Church.
“Mother’s Day morning … we were opening up our double doors and as we came out we walked right up on a burned bible,” Mark Rice, pastor of Mesa Baptist Church, told local Fox affiliate KSAZ.
At first, he thought the Bible-burning was just a bizarre prank. But then it happened again the following week.
“When it happened a week later, we realized that it was intentional,” Rice said.
He concluded that the arsonist had sinister motives.
“No one was trying to set the church on fire or they would have burned it closer the building,” he told Reuters. “They had something else in mind.”
The pastor’s theory was confirmed when the remains of a third fire were discovered the next day on the church’s property, along with a cryptic “hail Satan” message carved into a nearby metal gate. According to reports, the message was inscribed with 3-inch high letters, evidently etched with a knife or a nail.
“They were sending a message—we reject Christ by burning the Bible and we lift up Satan,” Rice told KTVK-TV.
He further suggested that the charred Bibles represent the age-old battle between good and evil.
“That’s been the story of Christianity,” Rice said. “I don’t take it as a personal attack—a personal affront—as much as I recognize the battle of good and evil. And I’m on the good side—the God side—and we’re hoping that we can really help these people.”
As of the latest reports, the arsonist remains on the loose. It is not known as to whether Minerault had any connection to the Mesa crimes.