A man climbed a four-story church in Boyle Heights Wednesday evening and lit fire to a cross before attempting to evade police by jumping from roof to roof.
Los Angeles Fire Department units responded at about 8:25 p.m. to St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 407 S. Chicago St. on reports of a possible jumper on the roof who appeared “to be trying to light the building on fire,” according to the department’s Margaret Stewart.
The man, wearing only boxers and a single sock, appeared to light fire to a cross statue atop the church’s bell tower, KCAL9 reported. The man also appeared to kick a second statue in an attempt to knock it over.
The man jumped from the church onto an adjacent building at about 9:25 p.m. He ran across the top of that building onto another nearby roof, where he used what appeared to be a telephone wire to scale the side of another building.
Police were attempting to negotiate a surrender with the man as of about 9:50 p.m.
The fire on top of the church bell tower appeared to burn out without threat of spreading to the rest of the building, according to reports from the scene.
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