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Amid Panic and Screams, Louisiana Church Stops Teen with Rifle from Targeting 60 Kids

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A Catholic church in Louisiana says they are thankful after some members were able to stop a teenager armed with a rifle from entering a church service filled with children.

Members at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville alerted police last Saturday morning that a 16-year-old wearing all black and armed with a rifle was trying to enter the building through the back door. 

Around 60 children were inside the church waiting to take their first Holy Communion, the church said. 

Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy said in a statement on Facebook that the suspect was "confronted by parishioners and escorted outside." 

Livestreamed video footage captures the moment the service was interrupted and members of the church began to pray.

Over audible panic and screams, one minister tells the congregation, "Guys, just get a hold of your children, go slowly. We did apprehend a child, he is in custody."

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The 16-year-old suspect was taken to the Abbeville Police Department and later charged with terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile.

Authorities questioned the young suspect before taking him to Abbeville General Hospital's behavioral unit for evaluation.

Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy thanked the congregants for their "quick response and remaining calm throughout this matter."

The church released a detailed statement on Facebook noting that the children were able to enjoy their first communion experience but that the church would be taking steps to have uniformed armed officers at its Masses "out of an abundance of caution."

"While we realize this was a frightening experience for those in attendance, we are incredibly grateful to both parishioners and police officers for acting quickly to ensure the safety of all," reads the statement. 

Conservative commentator Brandon Tatum commented on the incident saying, "God had his hand on this one." 

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.