DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Daytona Beach police cruiser was set ablaze Sunday, and a note referencing the Black Lives Matter movement was found nearby, authorities said.
[PHOTOS: Daytona Beach police cruiser torched]
According to a statement from Daytona Beach Police, dispatch received a call of a vehicle fire at 2:30 a.m.
Officers found a marked Daytona Beach police car fully engulfed in flames in front of the Islamic Center of Daytona Beach.
The car was being used as a "ghost car" to deter crime in the area.
Police said the center started receiving threats immediately after the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Now, the car is sitting at the impound lot, after someone threw a Molotov cocktail and took off. Only a note near the gutter that said "Black Lives Matter. A. Sterling P. Castile," and referring to police using an expletive was left behind.
"It referenced the two individuals that were shot by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and the favorite expletive of expletive the police," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.
Chitwood said it hit home on Sunday morning when police found one of their patrol cars on fire.
Fire crews responded and put the fire out. No one was injured.
"In today's climate, the scary thing of it all is there are a group of extremists and for lack of a better term, domestic terrorist who are driving the agenda right now," said Chitwood.
Some residents who live in the community near the Islamic Center said they support the police presence.
"I think it's wrong to take it out on cops about something they can sit down and talk about. I know black lives matter, but all lives matter and you shouldn't go around destroying things because they're there for protection," said Carrigan Halloman.
"They do a great job in the community and I back them in full force," said Johnnie Ponder.
The burning comes amid rising tension nationwide following the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Also Sunday, a gunman shot and killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge.
Police said the car had $30,000 in damage. The State Fire Marshal's Office is also investigating the arson.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Daytona Beach Police Department at 386-671-5100.
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