Church arson suspect is former parishioner, police say

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NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — A man suspected of deliberately setting fire to a church in National City was arrested Thursday, and police say he is a former parishioner there.

The fire was set just before 3:15 a.m. at Iglesias Ni Cristo Church in the 2200 block of East 8th Street, National City police said. Police officers arrived and put out most of the flames, and firefighters came to fully extinguish the blaze.

Surveillance video captured the arson of the church, which was empty at the time, police said. A man was seen leaving the building in a grey pickup truck.

Police identified the suspect as 37-year-old Ace Tomas Rancundo of San Diego. Detectives found Rancundo’s truck in the 400 block of Sunnyside Drive. Just before 9:35 a.m., Rancundo got into his truck and drove off, and detectives stopped him and took him into custody.

Rancundo was taken to county jail and booked on felony arson charges.

Flames damaged the front doors and smoke damaged the interior, police said.

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