Why? Family, friends of arsonist suspects share their thoughts - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Why? Family, friends of arsonist suspects share their thoughts

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As details on the church arsons arrest and investigation are made public, one of the unanswered questions is, why? Both of the suspects reportedly grew up in the church. Their families say they were good kids. But, a source close to one of them shares why he was not surprised by these arrests.

Their arrest has extinguished a fear in the community, but families of Jason Bourque and Daniel McAllister are confused - their motivation a mystery to them.

"My son has been a very, very good kid," said Kimberly Bourque, Jason's mother. "We don't know what's going on. He's been in church all his life we don't understand this."

"What possessed them to start doing all this, I don't know," said David McAllister, Daniel's dad.

Friends say for years, Bourque and McAllister attended Ben Wheeler Baptist Church in the past.

"[There were] no problems for them that would hint their lives are going this direction," said Pastor Carlton Young, with Ben Wheeler Baptist Church.

Sources close to McAllister say he was quiet and kept to himself. Bourque, on the other hand was a state champion in debate. A former U.T. Tyler lecturer says he was very intelligent and had a nack for biblical literature.

"Somehow, he brought several Bible verses and I was surprised, it was verbatim," said the teacher. "He knew the Bible."

So, what changed? McAllister's dad says his son's attitude changed three years ago, following his mother's death. A friend of Bourque, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he received a Facebook message from him just a few weeks before the fires started. Bourque said he was angry with religion.

"He went to church only because, socially, that is what he was supposed to be doing," said the friend. "He had a problem with the basis of Christianity."

This friend says Bourque was a social outcast, part of the reason he rejected Christianity.

"He didn't believe in Christianity - had a lot to do with how Christians treated him in the past," said the friend.

Past and present, their families stand by their sides.

"Nobody said he's guilty of this OK," said Kimberly Bourque.

"He'll answer by the laws we got now and answer to god for it one day," said David McAllister.

One thing they ask for is prayer.

The pastor of Ben Wheeler Baptist Church says the two suspects broke into his church a few years ago. Nothing was stolen or damaged.

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