Man Allegedly Plows Car Into Florida Church, Sets It Ablaze With Parishioners Inside; Two Other Christian Churches Burned Same Weekend

On Saturday, a man from Marion Country drove into a Catholic Church and set it ablaze with parishioners inside, causing extensive damage to the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida.
In other incidents over the weekend, a Catholic church in California, the San Gabriel Mission Church, went up in flames, as did a Pentecostal church, the Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Limestone, Alabama.
In both of those incidents, it’s unclear what caused the fires.
“Officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala Saturday morning after a man drove his vehicle into the front of the church and lit a fire,” reported WESH 2 News. “Deputies said the man then led them on a chase before being captured.”
Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported.
In an updated post from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, the man charged in the attack was identified as a 24-year-old male whose name will not be printed, per Daily Wire policy.
According to The Associated Press, the attacker told detectives on the case that he is mentally ill but had stopped taking his medication.
“[Redacted] told detectives what he did was ‘awesome,’ and he smiled and laughed, the affidavit said,” the AP reported. “He told detectives he was ‘on a mission,’ called himself ‘king’ and that he has problems with the Catholic Church and referenced passages in the Bible’s Book of Revelations.”
A post from the sheriff’s office said the defendant “had intentionally crashed a vehicle through the front doors of the church, exited the vehicle and poured gasoline out into the foyer area and then lit it on fire. He then left in the vehicle.”
The attacker “has been charged with one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder, evidencing prejudice, a First-Degree Felony; one count of Arson to a Structure (where persons are normally present and which the Defendant had reasonable grounds to believe to be occupied by a human being), evidencing prejudice, a Life Felony; one count of Burglary of an Occupied Structure (with intent to commit a forcible felony, with assault while armed, using a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, and causing damage to the structure in excess of $1,000), while evidencing prejudice, a Life Felony; and one count of Felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude,” the post added, noting that the perp is “being held in the Marion County Jail on no bond.”
“Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear,” said Sheriff Billy Woods. “My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace. I’m proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside of us during this investigation.”
In California, the Roman Catholic San Gabriel Mission Church went up in flames on Saturday night.
Mourners “came from across the region to survey the destruction after a fire that ripped through the church of the 249-year-old mission, one of California’s most historic landmarks, sacred ground for the Catholic faithful but also a symbol of a system that enslaved and terrorized indigenous peoples,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
“Hundreds of parishioners from the San Gabriel Mission Roman Catholic community gathered all day in the parking lot to cry, grieve, pray, reminisce and talk about their faith,” the report added.
“A heartbreaking scene in San Gabriel after the 250 year old San Gabriel Mission caught fire early this morning,” reported CBS Los Angeles’ Joy Benedict on Saturday. “Although still standing it is completely gutted.”
“I know there are a lot of questions about the cause of the fire at the #sangabrielmissionArson investigators are there, as is @ATFHQ,” the reporter updated. “There is also a security camera facing the front of the building where a Father Serra statue once stood (and was taken down last week).”
While it remains unclear how the fire started, Benedict said that the church “was also under renovation recently.”
“It’s not clear if that could have played a factor in the fire,” she said. “The church was scheduled to reopen next weekend. That’s why everyone is investigating.”
In Alabama on Friday, first responders were called to the Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Limestone County after the sanctuary caught fire.
“There is a lot of things you can look at and be thankful for in times like this,” pastor Jeremy Hill told WHNT News 19. “The good thing is no one was hurt, anything that was burnt can be replaced, and we are thankful for that.”
The fire destroyed the sanctuary, bathrooms, and fellowship hall, said Hill.
The cause of the fire remains unclear.
Man Allegedly Plows Car Into Florida Church, Sets It Ablaze With Parishioners Inside; Two Other Christian Churches Burned Same Weekend Man Allegedly Plows Car Into Florida Church, Sets It Ablaze With Parishioners Inside; Two Other Christian Churches Burned Same Weekend Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:21 Rating: 5

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