close

Florida man drives van into occupied Catholic church and sets it on fire

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.
Collin Jones The Post Millennial

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.

Steven Anthony Shields

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.

Join us!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Thank You!

Support The Post Millennial
Accepted payment methods: Visa, Mastercard, American Express  and Paypal
Collin Jones
0
Join The Discussion