Armed teen wearing all black enters Catholic church with a riffle allegedly to massacre families during First Holy Communion ceremony before he’s taken down by parishioners (video)

May 14th, 2024

Armed teen wearing all black enters Catholic church with a riffle allegedly to massacre families during First Holy Communion ceremony before he

A teenager armed with a rifle attempted to enter a Louisiana church full of children during a First Holy Communion Mass in Louisiana, US.


The Mass on Saturday, May 11, was being livestreamed when the incident happened, authorities said. 


Police were called to St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, 20 miles south of Lafayette, at 10:35 a.m. when the 16-year-old suspect tried to get in via the back door. 


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


The church said in a statement that parishioners confronted the suspect and took him outside before calling the police.


A recording of the livestream, broadcast by multiple local news stations, showed a man approach the Rev. Nicholas DuPré after 48 minutes to whisper something. DuPré then stops the service and asks churchgoers to join him in prayer, as people audibly panic and some begin to scream.


Police officers can then be seen walking through the church, as boys run across the altar and the clergy take shelter.


Someone is heard saying over a loudspeaker: “Guys, just get ahold of your children, go slowly. We did apprehend a child, he is in custody.”


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


Police then arrived and placed him in custody, before sweeping the church to ensure there was no further threat and there had been no injuries.


The suspect was arrested and later charged with terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile. 


Witnesses told KADN of Lafayette that he was dressed all in black and armed with the rifle.


He was questioned at Abbeville Police Department, alongside a parent, before he was taken to Abbeville General Hospital’s behavioral unit for evaluation, police said.


Police praised the quick-thinking bravery of the church congregation. Hardy offered thanks to the “clergy and parishioners of St Mary Magdalen Church for their quick response and remaining calm throughout this matter.”


He also said the FBI and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office were involved in the ongoing investigation and thanked them for their assistance.


The communion event continued despite the disruption. “The joy that these kids experienced today upon receiving their First Communion is beyond words. Congratulations!” the church said on Facebook.


The church said in a statement issued by the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette that it thanked police and parishioners for their swift response.


“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,” it said.


The church now plans to have uniformed law enforcement officers outside its Masses from now on, “out of an abundance of caution,” but urged anyone seeking a first Holy Communion to do so at the next available Mass.


Earlier this month, a man pulled a gun on a pastor at a church in Pittsburgh, an incident also caught on a video livestream (read here).


Watch a video of the incident at the Catholic Church below.