Parishioners Stop Attempted Mass Shooter At Louisiana Catholic Church

A crisis was narrowly averted at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, as vigilant parishioners and swift police intervention thwarted an armed intrusion during a First Communion Mass.

Amidst the solemn ceremony attended by around 60 children, an armed individual gained access to the church through the rear entrance. Parish members acted promptly, confronting the intruder and escorting them out of the premises before promptly notifying law enforcement of the attempted mass shooting.

Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy commended the parishioners for their courageous response, highlighting their efforts in disarming and subduing the suspect prior to the arrival of police officers.

Video footage captured the tense moments as the incident unfolded, showing the presiding priest, Father Nicholas DuPre, being alerted to the situation. Father DuPre swiftly directed parishioners to assume a seated position and engage in prayer before seeking shelter behind the altar with fellow clergy and altar servers.

Despite the apprehension of the suspect, panic ensued when the individual claimed the presence of a second shooter nearby. Law enforcement swiftly conducted a thorough search of the vicinity, ensuring the safety of all present. The church service ultimately continued after the suspect was removed by police.

The 16-year-old suspect, reportedly attired in all black and armed with a rifle, faced charges of terrorizing and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile. Following his apprehension, he underwent medical evaluation at the Abbeville General Hospital Behavioral Unit.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette, Louisiana, expressed gratitude for the vigilance of parishioners and the swift response of law enforcement, acknowledging their role in averting potential tragedy. He called for prayers to end all forms of violence against innocent lives.

As a precautionary measure, the parish announced enhanced security measures, including the deployment of uniformed law enforcement officers at all upcoming Masses.