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Teenager with Rifle Stopped by Parishioners from Entering Church Hosting 60 Children

Quick-Thinking Churchgoers Prevent Possible Tragedy, Detain Teen with Weapon

Worshipers at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, turned heroes on Saturday, foiling a potentially devastating attack. As a 16-year-old armed with a rifle attempted to disrupt a sacred ceremony with 60 children, the quick-witted congregation sprang into action, safeguarding their community with courage and unity.

The tense situation was revealed around 10:35 a.m. as the suspect, whose identity remains undisclosed due to their age, tried to gain entry through the church’s back door. Alert parishioners promptly confronted the individual, swiftly escorting them outside before contacting the authorities.

A chilling recording of the incident, broadcasted by local news stations, captured the moment parishioners intervened, leading to a temporary halt in the service as Rev. Nicholas DuPré gathered the congregation for prayer amongst audible panic and distress.

Churchgoers Act Swiftly to Protect Children, Subdue Teen with Rifle

Responding officers swiftly arrived on the scene, ensuring the safety of those present and taking the suspect into custody without any reported injuries. The teenager, dressed in black attire and wielding a rifle, was subsequently charged with terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile.

Following his arrest, the suspect underwent evaluation at Abbeville General Hospital’s behavioral unit, accompanied by a parent and law enforcement officials.

Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy commended the courageous actions of the churchgoers and expressed gratitude to both parishioners and law enforcement agencies for their rapid response and assistance in ensuring the safety of all involved.

Despite the disruption, the communion event persevered, bringing moments of joy and celebration to the children and their families. The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette issued a statement extending appreciation to the parishioners and law enforcement for their vigilance and swift action.

In light of the incident, the church announced plans to enhance security measures, including the presence of uniformed law enforcement officers at future Masses, while affirming its commitment to fostering a safe environment for worship and community gatherings.

The incident at St. Mary Magdalen Church echoes recent security concerns at places of worship, underscoring the importance of remaining vigilant and prepared to respond to potential threats to public safety.

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