A 38-year-old man is dead following a stabbing incident that took place at an Alexandria, Virginia, area church on Sunday, Nov. 12. The suspect is currently in custody.
Alexandria police were called to the scene of Apostolic Church International Ministry in the Del Ray neighborhood around 4:27 p.m. on Sunday, according to a press release. When they arrived, they found the victim, who died at the scene. The suspect had fled the scene.
The suspect has been identified as 35-year-old Bisrat Shaga. The identity of the victim has not been disclosed.
Police pursued Shaga, blocking off an area of the neighborhood surrounding the church. Shaga was apprehended at gunpoint at a gas station less than a mile away from the scene at 4:56 p.m., according to Alexandria Times.
Shaga, who does not have a permanent address, is facing a charge of malicious wounding. He has been assigned a public defender.
Earlier this year, Shaga was charged with assault and battery and property damage in a separate case. He has pleaded not guilty to both of those charges, which are misdemeanors.
The arresting officer told NBC Washington that Shaga “has mental health issues…paranoia about social media.” Shaga reportedly told police that he was in danger of being assassinated and that someone was using “social media to tangle my legs.”
Police reported that Shaga personally knew the victim from church.
Local residents expressed shock that a murder took place at a church in their neighborhood.
“It’s a very safe neighborhood, so there’s kids walking around in the evening time, and it’s a very family-oriented neighborhood. So definitely nothing like this has ever happened,” one resident told NBC.