St. Louis police investigate possible racial motive in string of fires at black churches

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Tony McMiller, 13, helps carry chairs outside on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, at the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, so that parishioners could sit in the yard. The church was damaged by an arson fire on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, so the service was held outside. Photo by J.B. Forbes, courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tony McMiller, 13, helps carry chairs outside on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, at the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, so that parishioners could sit in the yard. The church was damaged by an arson fire on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, so the service was held outside. Photo by J.B. Forbes, courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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ST. LOUIS — Investigators have yet to confirm that race was the motive. If race or religion proves to be the reason, police will seek to have the incidents prosecuted as hate crimes.