St. Sabina Church Attempted Arson? Burning Shirt Found Tied To Michael Pfleger's South Side Church

04/04/2012 10:34 am ET

A burning shirt found tied to the doors of St. Sabina Church, the home of controversial Rev. Michael Pfleger, Wednesday morning is now being investigated as an attempted arson.

Pfleger, who has spoken out against gangs and gun violence on the city's South Side, told the Chicago Tribune that he felt someone was "trying to send a message." Other items have been nailed or attached to church buildings twice previously, most recently a bag of feces.

"I'm not quite sure what (the message) is but. . .it's their third time, they've stepped up a little notch," Pfleger told the Tribune before noting that the incident will not deter him from continuing to speak out against violence in the city. He has also encouraged residents in violent communities to "speak up" and not let gang bangers intimidate them.

Police were notified of the small fire around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday in the 7800 block of South Racine, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The church sustained minor, "cosmetic damage" before the flame went out. No one was injured in the incident.

Pfleger most recently has called for the closing of a store in the city's Auburn-Gresham neighborhood where six people were shot, one of them fatally, last week. Pfleger told ABC Chicago that he believes the city should step in over the space, which he said has become a makeshift "office" for an area gang.

"We're asking the City Council and asking the mayor, give us some tools that can close down nuisances like this," Pfleger told ABC. "Because they're not just gang hangouts where now somebody has been killed and five other people shot, but they've become nuisances to the community."

Commenting on the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin last month, Pfleger urged during a vigil for Martin, "America, we demand you deal with race. We demand you protect our children."

No one is currently in custody in the incident as the investigation continues.

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