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CFO Patronis Announces Arson Arrest in Perry Church Fire

8/8/2022
PERRY, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Joshua Gipson for two counts of arson, two counts of Burglary, one count of Criminal Mischief, one count of Larceny, and Violation of Probation after allegedly setting fire to the Crosspoint Baptist Church. Mr. Gipson was tracked and located via K-9, placed into the custody of the Perry Police Department, and subsequently confessed to the crimes after being mirandized.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Arson is a malicious crime, but especially heinous when committed against a place of worship. A huge thanks and a job well done to the men and women of our Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives for their diligence during the investigation and to the Perry Police Department for bringing the perpetrator to justice. As Florida’s State Fire Marshal, I have made it very clear that arson, and evil or hateful crimes of any kind, will not be tolerated in our state and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
 
On August 4, 2022, the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services’ Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives Investigations (BFAEI) was requested by the Perry Police Department to assist with the investigation due to the multiple fires and their suspicious nature at Crosspoint Baptist Church. Upon arrival, a BFAEI K9 Team investigation was conducted revealing multiple alerts to the presence of ignitable liquids. BFAEI detectives conducted a thorough investigation of the scene and were able to determine the fire had been set in several different areas of the location. The Perry Police Department requested the assistance of the Florida Department of Corrections K9 Tracking Unit to assist with locating any potential persons of interest. The Department of Corrections’ K9 Team conducted an open-air track of the property which eventually led off property to a nearby area that had several onlookers watching the fire department’s personnel actions. Joshua Gipson was part of this group and matched a description of a possible suspect that was captured by security cameras located on the church property that morning. Gipson was detained for questioning and confessed to the crimes after being mirandized.
 
Joshua Gipson was transported to the Taylor County Jail where he was booked for the following charges: two counts of Arson, two counts of Burglary, one count of Criminal Mischief, one count of Larceny, and Violation of Probation. If convicted on all charges, Gipson faces more than 50 years in prison.