Home Christian News Parishioners Confront Teen With Rifle Outside of Communion Service for 60 Children

Parishioners Confront Teen With Rifle Outside of Communion Service for 60 Children

St. Mary Magdalen
Screengrab via KADN

A teenage suspect carrying a rifle was apprehended shortly after attempting to enter the backdoor of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, during a First Communion service on Saturday (May 11).

Around 60 children were inside the church waiting to receive their First Communion. The incident was captured on the church’s livestream, a video which has since been taken down from social media. 

Before the video was taken down, it was captured by several local media outlets, including KADN. In it, Fr. Nicholas G. Dupré can be seen leading the Mass before someone approaches him to whisper something in his ear. 

Dupré then asks everyone to be seated, and several individuals can be seen conversing and looking toward the back of the room. A few moments later, Dupré can be seen leading a Hail Mary prayer as police officers enter the room.

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A few moments after that, panic appears to erupt in the crowd. As people begin to evacuate, a voice can be heard assuring them that the teen “is in custody.” 

Abbeville Chief of Police Mike Hardy said in a statement on Facebook that officers arrived at the church around 10:35 a.m. on Saturday after receiving a call about “a suspicious person with a gun.”

“The person was confronted by parishioners and escorted outside. Upon arrival, Officers arrested the suspect and placed him in custody,” Hardy said. “Officers with the Abbeville Police Department and Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office made a sweep through the church to ensure there was no additional threat and confirmed that no one was injured.”

The suspect, who is a 16-year-old white male, was questioned by investigators with a parent present. He was then transported to the Abbeville General Hospital Behavioral Unit to be evaluated. 

Following the incident, Mary Magdalen Catholic Church also released a statement, saying, “This morning, our First Communion ceremony was interrupted when a suspicious person opened the back door.”

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“This understandably caused panic,” the statement went on to say. “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.”