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Abbeville: 16-year-old Male with Rifle Apprehended at St. Mary Magdalen Church

Abbeville, LA – (May 11, 2024) – A tense situation unfolded at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville on Saturday, May 11, 2024, as parishioners confronted a suspicious individual brandishing a firearm. The Abbeville Police Department (APD) responded to a distress call reporting the alarming presence of the armed individual within the sacred confines of the church.

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At 10:35 AM, parishioners took decisive action, confronting the individual and escorting him out of the church premises. Upon arrival, law enforcement officers apprehended the suspect without incident. Officers from both the Abbeville Police Department and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted a comprehensive sweep of the church to ensure the safety of all present, confirming that no injuries occurred.

The suspect, identified as a 16-year-old male, was taken into custody and questioned in the presence of his parent at the Abbeville Police Department. Following the interrogation, the suspect was transported to the Abbeville General Hospital Behavioral Unit for medical evaluation. He faces charges of Terrorizing and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile.

Chief Mike Hardy expressed his gratitude to the FBI staff for their invaluable assistance in the investigation. Additionally, Chief Hardy commended the deputies of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office and extended his appreciation to the clergy and parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen Church for their composed response amidst the chaos.

Eyewitnesses reported that the suspect, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, caused panic among parishioners, particularly as 60 children were participating in their first communion. Reports also suggest that a man approached the priest, whispering a warning of danger, prompting the priest to commence prayers before chaos erupted in the rear of the church.

Mayor White of Abbeville issued a statement, expressing solidarity with the church and its community, acknowledging the bravery and vigilance of individuals who ensured the safety of all present. Mayor White urged prayers for the community’s recovery and expressed gratitude to all involved, emphasizing the importance of faith during challenging times.

The investigation into this alarming incident remains ongoing, and the Abbeville Police Department encourages anyone with information to come forward and assist in the investigation. Individuals can contact the Abbeville Police Department at (337) 893-2511 or utilize the provided tip line or Facebook page to provide information anonymously.

Source: Abbeville Police Department, Eyewitnesses, Mayor of Abbeville

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