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Church Fire Bomber Arrested, Claims He Was Trying To Protect Children by Stopping Drag Show Event

Aimenn Penny
(L) Community Church of Chesterfield screengrab via Facebook @Community Church of Chesterland UCC (R) Aimenn Penny via Government Affidavit

Aimenn Penny, a member of the White Lives Matter group in Ohio, was arrested by the Department of Justice after attempting to burn down Community Church of Chesterland, which was planning to host a drag queen story hour on April 1.

The 20-year-old Penny has been charged with malicious use of explosive materials and possession of a destructive device for his actions on March 25, when he allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at the Chesterland, Ohio, church.

Along with throwing burning bottles filled with gasoline at the church, authorities believe Penny had something to do with the church’s sign being destroyed.

The White Lives Matter group with which Penny is associated is described in the affidavit as a neo-Nazi, racist, and homophobic hate group.

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Law enforcement used Penny’s cell phone to determine that he was on the property of the church on March 25 between 1:00 a.m. and 1:31 a.m.

During the execution of an FBI search warrant on March 31, Penny admitted to assembling the Molotov cocktails and throwing them at the church.

According to the affidavit:

Penny stated that he was trying to protect children and stop the drag show event. Penny stated that night he became more and more angry after watching internet videos of news feeds and drag shows in France and decided to attack the church. Penny stated that he would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails were more effective and burned the entire church to the ground.

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FBI agents found a handwritten manifesto containing “ideological statements” at Penny’s residence. Authorities also found a Nazi flag, Nazi memorabilia, a White Lives Matter of Ohio t-shirt, a gas mask, multiple rolls of blue painters tape found at the crime scene, and gas cans.

Community Church of Chesterland, which is part of the United Church of Christ denomination, identifies as an “Open and Affirming Church” and welcomes “all people regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, faith, nationality, ethnicity, martial [sic] status, physical ability, economic situation or whatever other barriers there might be.”