Man Wielding Samurai Sword Attacks Scientology Church in Inglewood
In the latest incident in violence against churches and places of worship, a Samurai sword wielding man burst inside the Scientology church in Inglewood, CA and was subsequently shot by law enforcement. Witnesses inside the church said he was “acting crazy” before the ensuing gunfire at 3:30pm. According to Daily Mail, “police confronted him in the lobby of the church and opened fire after a bizarre standoff.” The attacker was shot in the head by police, after which he was rushed to the hospital where he eventually lost his life. One of the police officers “was shot in the hand and the other suffered a gunshot wound to the arm during the standoff.”
Witnesses say the attacker’s white Bentley was parked near the church. It was searched for further evidence. A motive is still being determined, as detectives get the account of five witnesses who were in the lobby when the suspect entered. The reason for the attacker’s presence at the Scientology building is not clear.
Inglewood Police detective Lt. Oscar Mejia said the suspect arrived in a white Bentley (which you can vaguely spot between police cars in my iPhone photo) that is still parked outside the Church of Scientology. pic.twitter.com/4AIYrXnvgF
— Emily Rasmussen (@rasmussenreport) March 28, 2019
NEW: Statement from Inglewood Church of Scientology after two officers were shot while confronting a man armed with a samurai sword who entered the church’s front lobby this afternoon. He was shot in the head and died at a hospital. Both officers going to be okay. 10pm @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/nf19LlTd56
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 28, 2019
This is yet another saddening occurrence of a recent string of violent attacks against individuals in religious places. In October 2018, a gunman shouting anti-Semitic slurs killed 11 congregation members inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, in what is described by the New York Times as “among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the United States.”
In January 2019, an Australian Scientologist was murdered outside the Church of Scientology’s Australian headquarters in Sydney by a 16-year-old boy wielding a kitchen knife. The church alleged that actress Leah Remini’s documentary series, Scientology and the Aftermath, “stirred up hate for the church,” and led to the attack.
In March 2019, a 28-year-old shooter targeted two mosques in the New Zealand City of Christchurch, killing 49 and seriously injuring 20. The killer published a 74-page manifesto that showed his racist intuition to “spark civil war in the US and ‘save’ the white race,” as reported by Daily Mail.
Churches in the US have responded by allowing and even encouraging parishioners to carry guns at their churches. For example, in January 2018, the Virginia senate approved a new bill allowing individuals to carry guns in churches. In an April 2018 article, we wrote about how parishioners of Lighthouse Mexico Church of God openly carry guns when they meet for Sunday mass. Ron Russell, the pastor of the church, exhorts church members to carry concealed weapons.