KPD arrests Kilauea church arson suspect

KAPA‘A — Kaua‘i Police Department on Friday announced the arrest of a 50-year-old man on suspicion of arson involving a church fire on the eve of Easter Sunday in Kilauea.

Police have arrested Henry Garvey in connection with the fire that occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m. on April 7 at Christ Memorial Church in Kilauea. Police said Garvey is believed to be homeless and living in the Kilauea area.

Garvey had called Police Dispatch to report a fire at the church located on Kolo Road, according to police. Officer Rivera, a patrolman from the Hanalei Police Station, was first on the scene and was able to extinguish the blaze before fire fighters arrived, a county news release states.

Rivera then located Garvey, who police said appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant and was in a state of severe agitation. Garvey became belligerent and uncooperative, and he continued to interfere with the fire investigation despite several verbal commands to cease his actions, the release states.

Police arrested Garvey for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Police on Monday questioned Garvey at Lihu‘e Police Station, and he admitted to starting the fire, according to police. He was subsequently arrested for a second time on Monday for third-degree Arson.

The suspect has posted his $1,000 bail and is awaiting trial, according to police.

Damage to the church is estimated at approximately $1,500, the release states.

Rev. Robin Taylor of Christ Memorial said prayer books and hymnals were used to start the fire that burned a wooden bench and an interior wall of the historic church, and that lighted candles and an open prayer book were left on the altar.

In addition to the fire, the reverend said a brass crucifix was dismantled and damaged, as was the welcome sign outside, flowers in place for Easter Sunday were strewn about the church, an oil-filled candelabra in the front alcove was tossed about and broken, and tombstones were knocked over and broken.

Taylor said it is unclear at this point how the vandals entered or if the church was open.

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