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Morning Briefing: Arson A Possibility In San Gabriel Mission Fire

A statue of Saint Junipero Serra used to stand in front of the San Gabriel Mission until leaders recently removed it from public view for its protection. (Josie Huang/LAist)
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A fire that burned parts of the San Gabriel Mission appears to have started in the church’s choir loft. Investigators are still looking into whether or not it was an act of arson, but a representative for the region’s fire department told Josie Huang that no electrical work was being done in a recent renovation.

The 249-year-old church was a landmark in San Gabriel, and a revered place for many Catholics in the area. But it’s also been a recent source of controversy; it’s associated with the missions founded by Father Junípero Serra, who has been blamed for physical and cultural violence against Native Americans. At a recent protest in downtown L.A., a statue of Serra was torn down by activists.

Still, for some residents, the church had a different meaning.

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"I feel very sad," Liccia Beck, a San Gabriel resident, told Josie. "My parents were married here. This has just been in our family for several generations."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

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The Past 48 Hours In LA

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Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County public health officials yesterday announced 3,322 new coronavirus cases and 18 new deaths. Los Angeles Apparel — owned by Dov Charney, who previously founded American Apparel — has been closed by county officials after more than 300 workers contracted COVID-19.

#JusticeForAndresGuardado: Protesters are calling for the arrest of Miguel Vega, the Sheriff’s deputy who killed 18-year-old Andrés Guardado with five shots to the back, and for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign.

San Gabriel Mission: A fire at the 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission has left local Catholics grieving.

California Vs. Trump: The UC System filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its new international students policy, which requires those students to take classes in person or risk having their visas revoked.

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Photo Of The Day

Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department meet protesters demanding justice for Andrés Guardado at the Compton Civic Center, as a mural of President Barack Obama is displayed in the background.

(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

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