The pastor of a Northern California Baptist church was arrested with three others Monday in connection with the attempted firebombing of a Vacaville home last week.
Vacaville police said they charged Mark Lewis, 39, with arson, stalking and conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 9 attack on the home of an ex-girlfriend, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
None of the six people sleeping in the home at the time of the 3 a.m. attack were injured.
Residents were able to douse the flames after the Molotov cocktail used in the attack malfunctioned.
Larson has been pastor of the Fellowship Baptist Church on Farrell Road since 2000, the church website says.
Police stopped a vehicle near the home and were able to link the three occupants to Lewis, the newspaper said.
Anthony Newbolt, 33, of Sacramento; Richerd Wright, 28, of Sacramento and Kristen Broyles, 30, of Citrus Heights also were arrested and charged in connection to the attack, the newspaper said.
Newbolt and Broyles told police that they were staying at the church because they were homeless, and police discovered that one of the home's residents had a restraining order against the pastor, the newspaper said.
Lewis has denied the charges and returned to his duties at the church, according to KCRA-TV in Sacramento.
In fact, Lewis told the television station that he and is ex-girlfriend, Sarah Nottingham, were "good friends."
“I don’t know where all the aggression came that I’m hearing about, but it’s OK," Lewis told KCRA.
"I’m still good friends with her,” he said.
The newspaper said local police told them that Lewis is suspected in several other incidents involving Nottingham in December, including harassing telephone calls, breaking car windows and setting bushes afire in front of her parent's home. Nottingham confirmed that she had dated Lewis for about a year, KCRA said.