RALEIGH – The Wake County Sheriff's office is investigating a series of fires, a car crash and a suicide that appear to be linked.
Officials responded to a house fire on Carrington Drive just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Less than 20 minutes later, deputies got another call about a fire at the nearby St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church.
When firefighters arrived, they found a Chevy Suburban crashed into the front of the church and a man in the parking lot who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The incidents caused severe damage to both the house and church.
"It's the kind of damage that will require and extensive renovation before the church will be able to be used for church services," Rev. Robert Staley said.
Staley says the man was not a member and the church community was quick to respond with support after the incident.
"They just wanted to be here to pray and to show their concern and to be near the sacred ground they care for so much," he said.
While the church canceled Saturday night mass, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh has extended an invitation to the St. Luke community to attend at its church on Sunday at 2 p.m.
No information has been released on the identity of the man who died.