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Molotov cocktail thrown into The Chapel at Crosspoint

The Chapel at Crosspoint will hold regular services Sunday morning – a day after someone hurled a Molotov cocktail through a glass door, sparking a fire at the Amherst church.

The incident occurred about 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Amherst police and the Getzville Fire Company responded to the fire alarm.

Police on Saturday said it was too early in the investigation to say whether it was an act of vandalism or a hate crime. Detectives working the case throughout the day had no updates Saturday evening.

“We will conduct our investigation. It’s a very serious matter anytime somebody uses a firebomb, particularly to a religious facility,” Amherst Police Capt. Enzo Villalta told WIVB-TV, Channel 4.

Police said they would check surveillance video from the Chapel and from area businesses. In an appeal to the public for information, Villalta said it is possible that the perpetrator might talk about the crime in public or on social media.

Meanwhile, the Chapel said it would be ready for worship at its 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, when Pastor Jerry Gillis plans to address the incident and how the church plans to respond.

The Chapel at Crosspoint released a statement from Gillis: “As the authorities continue to investigate the minor damage to our facility and the motive behind it, we are reminded to continue in our mission of sharing the love of Christ with all people and to serving this great community we live in.

“We look forward to doing just that (Sunday) as we gather for worship at our regularly scheduled worship times,” he said.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $10,000. A sprinkler system contained the fire in a vestibule.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 689-1364.