Pastor Terry Jones arrested attempting to burn Quran copies
MULBERRY, Florida - A controversial Florida pastor has been arrested with thousands of kerosene-soaked Quran copies on way to a park in Florida where he had planned to burn them publicly, authorities said Thursday.
The pastor, Terry Jones, 61, is known for his plans to publicly burn copies of the Muslim holy book.
He was arrested in Mulberry along with his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr, 44, as they travelled in a pickup truck towing a large barbecue-style grill filled with copies of Quran soaked in kerosene.
Authorities said Jones also had extra bottles of kerosene inside the truck bed.
He faces felony charges of unlawful conveyance of fuel and openly carrying a firearm.
Jones, 61, was arrested on felony charges after a traffic stop near a pharmacy in Mulberry, a small town in Polk County, just before 5 p.m. He faces charges of unlawfully transporting fuel.
He had earlier declared he was heading to a nearby park to burn 2,998 copies of Quran one for every victim of the Sep 11, 2001 attacks in America.
"My detectives had many conversations with Terry Jones prior to today," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Wednesday.
"He was told he was welcome to come to Polk County and express his First Amendment rights. However, if he violated the law, he would absolutely be arrested and placed in the county jail. On Sept. 11, he arrived in Polk County, violated the law, and our detectives arrested him and booked him into the county jail just as he was informed."
Jones is the pastor of a small evangelical Christian church who first gained attention in 2010 when he planned to burn a Quran on the anniversary of 9/11, although he eventually called it off.
In April, he organized a Sanford event in support of George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.