NC man charged with threatening black church in Virginia Beach

North Carolina news

John Malcolm Bareswill

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A North Carolina man accused of making a threatening call to a black church in Virginia Beach last week was arrested on Friday by federal authorities.

John Malcolm Bareswill was charged with making a telephonic threat to use fire to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual, or unlawfully to damage or destroy a building. The 63-year-old is from Catawba, North Carolina, but works in Virginia Beach.

The call to New Hope Baptist Church was placed on the morning of June 7, authorities say, days after a member of the church participated in a local prayer vigil at Mount Trashmore in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

A federal affidavit shows Bareswill called the church and said “you [racial slur] need to shut up” and threatened to burn down the church. The call was on speakerphone and three young children were present in the room.

The affidavit shows a search Bareswill’s phone revealed an outgoing call to the church at 395 Old Great Neck Road that corresponded with phone records at the church. He also searched the internet for several phrases, including “Who said all whites are racist,” “Black Lives Matter protest held in Virginia,” and “Who organized the protests from mount trashmore to town center.”

Department of Justice officials say he’s expected to make an appearance in Norfolk federal court on Friday at 2 p.m.

This is a breaking article and will be updated.

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