Churchgoers Thwart Armed Teenager’s Attempt To Enter Louisiana Church During Children’s Mass

A potential tragedy was averted on Saturday when brave parishioners stopped a 16-year-old armed with a rifle from entering St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville Louisiana during a First Communion Mass attended by around 60 children. The terrifying incident captured on the church’s livestream video showed the priest abruptly halting the service and asking the congregation to pray as people audibly panicked.

The church said in a statement that the suspect was “immediately confronted by parishioners escorted outside and the police were called.” Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy praised the “quick response and remaining calm” of the clergy and parishioners.

Officers arrested the teenager who was questioned alongside a parent before being taken to a hospital for evaluation. He faces charges of terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile.

The livestream video showed police officers walking through the church as altar boys ran across the altar and clergy took shelter. Someone can be heard reassuring the congregation that the suspect had been apprehended.

Despite the frightening disruption the church proceeded with the First Communion ceremony. The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette expressed gratitude to parishioners and police for ensuring everyone’s safety.

The FBI and Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office are assisting with the ongoing investigation. The church plans to have uniformed law enforcement at future Masses as a precaution.