original article published at https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/05/04/john-david-corey-charged-setting-fire-devastated-san-gabriel-mission/
SAN GABRIEL (CBSLA) — A 57-year-old man was charged Tuesday with setting the fire that caused extensive damage to the San Gabriel Mission last summer.
John David Corey, also known as Joker, was charged with two felony counts of arson of an inhabited structure, one count each of arson during a state of emergency, first degree residential burglary and possession of flammable material, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say Corey broke into the historic mission on July 11 and started the fire, which spread to the roof and along the length of the church. The church’s wood and pews were completely gutted, but firefighters were able to get control of the flames before they reached the altar and museum. The mission’s concrete exterior remained standing.
“The loss to the mission was in the millions of dollars, but the loss to the community is immeasurable,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
The mission had been closed due to the pandemic and had been scheduled to reopen for mass a week before the fire.
The case has been filed for warrant, and a date of arraignment has not yet been set, the District Attorney’s Office said.