Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Parish attacked before Mass in Palmdale

From California Catholic Daily:
A pistol-wielding man screaming “there’s going to be a killing” stormed into St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale before a Sunday afternoon Mass on Nov. 4, kicking the pastor and knocking him to the ground, according to press reports.

“As I walked in, he had gotten to the choir area and became very aggressive," Msgr. Stephen Downes, St. Mary’s pastor, told the Los Angeles Daily News. "He hit a male choir member on the side of the head, then a maintenance man tackled him to the ground. Other choir members held him down."

A sheriff’s deputy told the Daily News that when law enforcement agents arrived at the church and subdued the suspect, they found a pistol hidden in his waistband. “It was cocked and ready to go,” Deputy Daryl Bonsall told the newspaper.

"He (the suspect) punched the pastor, knocked him down and kicked him,” Lt. Cory Kennedy told the Antelope Valley Press. “I think my deputies arriving and these people stopped a bad situation from happening. I think he had some real bad intentions.”

According to news accounts, the man repeatedly cursed, shouted that there is no God and made unspecified “anti-Catholic” statements.

Deputies arrested Claude Sricchia, 65, of Acton. He was charged with assault, making terrorist threats, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Following the incident, a shaken Msgr. Downes celebrated the 5:30 p.m. Mass a little later than scheduled. The Antelope Valley Press said about 400 parishioners were in attendance when the melee occurred.

Sricchia, who allegedly had been drinking, is not a member of the parish, and had to be identified by fingerprints since he refused to identify himself, sheriff’s officials told the press.
I remember Msgr. Stephen Downes fairly well. He served as pastor of my parish in Santa Barbara for several years before moving on.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails