Kingston church vandalized; Pride, Black Lives Matter flags destroyed

Jonathan White, 43, of Plymouth, was arrested, Kingston police said.

Kingston police/Facebook

A church in Kingston, Massachusetts, was vandalized early on the Fourth of July, and a man has been arrested in connection to the incident, police say.

According to Kingston police, officers responded to reports of malicious damage to the First Parish Unitarian Church, located at 223 Main Street, in the early morning hours and began investigating, which led to the arrest of 43-year-old Jonathan White, of Plymouth.



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Investigators allege that White illegally entered the church overnight and caused significant damage to the building, ripping off and destroying handmade 200-year-old shutters, smashing antique glass, and spraying a fire extinguisher throughout the building among other destructive acts.

Additionally, police believe White set fire to Pride and Black Lives Matter flags that were outside the church, charring pieces of the building in the process. Initial damage estimates are in the tens of thousands, police say.

White allegedly returned to the church and appeared to be watching officers process the scene, police say, which they add is common for arsonists. A Kingston detective noticed White and attempted to stop him but he allegedly yelled at the detective and took off in his vehicle, turned around, struck a sign and fled.

A Kingston patrolman was able to locate his vehicle, however, stopping him shortly down the road.

Multiple pieces of evidence were gathered and are being processed that connect White to the scene, police say, adding that detectives are attempting to develop White's movements throughout the night and his motivation.

Police say they want to ensure all possible evidence is gathered to obtain justice for the church, so they are asking anyone who resides in the 200-250 block of Main Street, or the side streets that connect to the area, to review their home surveillance cameras from approximately midnight until 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Specifically, residents are asked to look for footage consistent with a white 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe which has a spot light outside of the driver’s door that is similar to a police cruiser light. Additionally, any other suspicious activity would be of interest to police, as well.

​An investigation remains ongoing, including what White's motivation was. The Massachusetts State Police hate crimes unit is assisting, and the potential for hate crime charges is being reviewed at this time, police say.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Lt. Michael Skowyra at or 781-585-0523 ext. 6662.

White is facing several felony charges and will be arraigned in Plymouth District Court. It was not immediately clear if he had obtained an attorney.

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