Quick intervention by parishioners probably prevented the worst

At First Communion: Armed youth triggers panic

Abbeville - A First Communion celebration in the US state of Louisiana came to an abrupt end: A teenager forced his way into the church with a gun. It is apparently thanks to vigilant mass-goers that nothing worse happened.

Published  on 13.05.2024 at 11:59  – 

An armed teenager briefly caused panic among those attending a First Communion service in the US state of Louisiana on Saturday. According to the parish of St Mary Magdalene in Abbeville, a "suspicious person" entered the back of the church during the mass. Some parishioners immediately confronted the person, took them outside and called the police. A video of the moment when a parishioner came to the altar and informed the priest of the incident, as well as the reaction of the parishioners, has been circulating on social media since the weekend.

According to media reports, the suspect, a 16-year-old, was eventually disarmed outside the church and held down on the ground before the emergency services arrived. The police arrested him and took him to the police station for further questioning; he was then taken to hospital for medical and psychological examinations. The police searched the church to ensure that there was no further danger. There were no injuries in the incident. The police stated that they had begun further investigations and were also receiving support from the FBI. The teenager will be charged with terrorism and unauthorised possession of weapons.

"We realise that this was a frightening experience for those in attendance," the statement from the municipality said. It thanked the security authorities for their swift intervention and announced that all upcoming church services would take place under police protection. As the First Communion service had to be cancelled, she offered the children the opportunity to receive their First Communion at any other mass last weekend. (mal)