16-year-old arrested after entering church with gun in Louisiana

There were around 60 children inside the church at the time, waiting to receive their first Holy Communion.
Armed teen LA church
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 14, 2024

A 16-year-old has been arrested after entering a Louisiana church with a gun.

The Abbeville Police Department said the incident took place Saturday morning at the St. Mary Magdalen Church.

There were around 60 children inside the church at the time of the incident, according to a church statement obtained by NBC News. They had been there to receive their first Holy Communion.

Before police arrived, parishioners stopped the teen from causing any harm. They confronted him and escorted him outside.

Once at the scene, police arrested the suspect, whom they did not identify by name, and ensured that there was no additional threat inside the church, Chief of Police Mike Hardy said in a press release posted to Facebook.

A livestream of the service posted by multiple news outlets showed screams erupting throughout the church before police entered. A voice, presumably of an officer, was later heard saying the suspect was apprehended and in police custody, and instructed churchgoers to get ahold of their children and proceed slowly.

The suspect was taken to the Abbeville Police Department and questioned under the presence of a parent, police said. He was then sent to Abbeville General Hospital Behavioral Unit to undergo a medical evaluation.

The teenager was charged with terrorizing and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile, according to police.

The communion event resumed after the incident, and the church said in a message to members that it would have officers present at upcoming masses “out of an abundance of caution."

An investigation remains ongoing.