El Monte Police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI responded to the explosion and determined that there was no second device.
Law enforcement is investigating who may be behind the blast, although there is no indication that activists protesting against the church were responsible for the attack, said El Monte Police Chief David Reynoso, at the Washington Post. The obscene messages in spray paint on the building found by officers who responded were unrelated to anti-LGBTQ teachings, Reynoso said.
“We have no information that would lead us to believe that protesters in the past are in any way responsible for it,” Reynoso said.
The detonation was powerful enough to shatter a window at a nearby structure, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told The Post.
Federal agents are reviewing a police report filed two weeks ago by church pastor Bruce Mejia about an arson threat posted on social media, Eimiller said.
The church did not respond to calls on Saturday.
Researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center have ranked the church as one of 70 hate groups across the country that promote anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
He is part of the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, less than two dozen churches in the United States that are associated with anti-LGBTQ pastor Steven Anderson. Anderson has been banned from 34 countries for his rhetoric calling for the deaths of LGBTQ people, according to the civil rights group.
Church teachings condemning same-sex marriage have drawn criticism and protests. An online petition from Keep El Monte Friendly, a group that organized protests against the First Works Baptist Church, to evict the El Monte Church, has received more than 15,000 signatures.
Negotiations are underway between local authorities, the church and protesters to ease tensions, Eimiller said.
Those talks included the city and the county, Alma Martinez, director of the city of El Monte, told the Los Angeles Times.
“Even though we don’t know at this time who is involved in the crime, as a city we want to make sure we continue to work on de-escalating the situation to promote peace, security and respect in our community.” , Martinez says the newspaper. “Crimes of this nature are not acceptable.”
Keep El Monte Friendly said in a statement that he did not tolerate the act of violence.
“Our movement was aimed at illuminating and raising awareness of the hateful rhetoric taught by this group,” the activist organization said of the church. “We understand that what they preach can make people angry. However, we would not encourage, encourage or condone any act of violence or harm. “