Man charged with arson after fire damages Knoxville church

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Dakota Snook

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man who previously identified himself to police officers as “God” is accused of breaking into a Knoxville church and setting a flag on fire. The incident caused about $2,000 in damages, according to an arrest report.

The report says that just before 7 a.m. on Aug. 31, Knoxville law enforcement responded to a reported disturbance at Mt. Olive Baptist Church on Maryville Pike. There, staff members told the responding officers there was a man in the church who had been “trespassed from the church multiple times.”

During the search for the suspect, officers said in the report they could smell a burnt odor. The source of the smell was found to be a flag that had been set on fire which also burned the wall and carpet.

Dakota Snook was taken into custody after officers reported finding him “behind a closed door with his pants around his ankles.” Snook allegedly confessed to the officers that he entered the church through a broken window. When questioned about the burning flag, Snook told officers he didn’t like that flag because he isn’t a Christian, The report notes that during prior incidents, Snook has “identified as God.”

Snook is charged with burglary, vandalism, and arson of a place of worship.

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