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Pastor of Providence Baptist Church describes suspect's troubled history

Posted at 6:27 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 06:42:53-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Just hours after the person at a Taco Bell was set on fire, multiple other fires happened.

Investigators haven't determined if any or all of them are connected. The string of events has an entire community on edge.

There's broken glass all over the ground at Providence Baptist Church.

Things like a table and siding lie melted on the ground, but the pastor of the church says the real damage was done emotionally.

After multiple fires in the Providence community, the broken glass littering the ground at Providence Baptist Church matches the broken spirits.

Walter McDonald, Pastor of Providence Baptist Church, even says they fed Mia Williams-- the suspect accused of setting someone on fire inside the Taco Bell.

"He was a very needy person. We were able to help him by giving him some money," said McDonald.

Williams even spoke with Pastor McDonald about personal struggles.

"I could see that he was confused in terms of who he was and really what he was. He had some what I call gender identity problems," said McDonald.

Pastor McDonald says Williams visited the church three or four times, but about a month ago, she abruptly stopped.

Now McDonald says he wants Williams to get the help that he wasn't able to give her.

"I hope that for his sake that he gets the spiritually, psychological counseling that he needs," said McDonald.

While others in the community are looking for justice.

"It means a lot to me because somebody doesn't care about God. A mighty good God. I don't know who you are, but you will pay the price," said someone who called the cops.

We've seen a constant trickle of people coming out to see the damage. In fact, you can still smell the fire.

Tallahassee Police, Tallahassee Fire, and the State Fire Marshall are all working to figure out exactly what happened.