Steven Shields, 24, allegedly drove a van through the doors of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida, poured gasoline in the church, and lit it ablaze while parishioners were inside preparing for Mass.
Shields was taken into custody after Marion County Deputy Josue Gonzales conducted what's known as a "Precision Immobilization Technique" or PIT maneuver to disable the alleged arsonist as he fled the scene in his vehicle.
Although no one was injured, significant fire damage was done to the church foyer and was put out by fire crews before the fire was able to spread into the main auditorium, reports WCJB.
Shields has been charged with a single count of Attempted Second Degree Murder, evidencing prejudice, a First-Degree Felony; one count of Arson to a Structure, evidencing prejudice, a Life Felony; one count of Burglary of an Occupied Structure.
Police Sergeant Paul Bloom mentioned that the act is investigated for a possible act of terrorism.
"Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear," Sheriff Billy Woods said.
"My deputies and I sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace," he added. "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."
“We praise God that no one was injured," a spokesman for Catholic Diocese said.
"We join in prayer for Father O’Doherty, the parishioners of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, our first responders and the gentleman who caused this damage. May we come to know the Peace of the Lord. Masses will resume as normal in the parish hall beginning this evening."
The brazen attack on the Catholic church happened on the same day a blaze broke out at the 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission in California.