Man charged with arson for blaze at 250-year-old LA landmark


A California man has been charged with arson for setting the blaze that ravaged a 250-year-old mission in Los Angeles last year, officials announced Tuesday.

John David Corey, 57, was hit with two felony counts of arson and first-degree burglary for allegedly setting the July 11 fire at the San Gabriel Mission, a Southern California landmark, LA County District Attorney George Gascon said in a press release.

The interior of the San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles after the fire.
The interior of the San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles after the fire.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

“The loss of the mission was in the millions of dollars but the loss to the community is immeasurable,” Gascon said in a statement.

The fire caused extensive damage to the historic building, which contained artifacts dating to the late 18th Century and original walls, floors and a domed ceiling.

The mission was founded in 1771, and was the fourth established in California by Franciscan priest Junipero Serra, NBC Los Angeles reported.

The interior of the San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles after the fire.
The interior of the San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles after the fire.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

According to prosecutors, Corey broke into the building in the early morning hours and started the fire, which engulfed the building and destroyed its centuries-old roof.

In a report last month, KABC-TV reported that efforts are underway to restore the building and replace the roof in time for the mission’s 250th anniversary in September.

The San Gabriel Mission before the 2020 fire.
The San Gabriel Mission before the 2020 fire.
Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP

No arraignment date has been set for Corey, the district attorney said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.