Massive police presence when a suspicious man triggered a mass panic in Catholic during Good Friday Mass - arrest of a 33-year-old - UPDATE: criminal charges against the suspect
(kath.net) "During a church service, with almost 500 people were in the church, a man entered, behaved very suspiciously, said some things. As a result, a panic broke out among the faithful, who wanted to get out of the church building as quickly as possible. A woman and a six - year - old boy had been injured as a result. "The police officer Peter Elke describes the incidents during the Good Friday Mass in the Essen district of Vogelheim (North Rhine-Westphalia). It was the Good Friday liturgy of the Croatian Catholic Church of St. Thomas More. According to the police, after the emergency call was received, responded with th "standard" strong force.
The "Rheinische Post" reported that the stranger had "walked through the rows of people," according to some church visitors, "apparently frightening some visitors." After a popping noise, there was a panic, with hundreds of people pushing to the exits," accirding to the presentation of the "Rheinische Post".
The "Bild" quoted an eye-witness: "In the middle of the Mass came an Arab-looking man, who behaved strangely. He ran along the pews. "When the priest and the ministries wanted to carry the cross through the nave, the man had gone forward to the first pew row." Another witness said, 'I was sitting with my children and my husband just half a meter away from him. He stared at us with an irrational glance and scratched the wooden benches. There were already more and more people leaving the church."
Then a loud bang sounded, then panic ensued. Another witness reported the "picture": "I do not think it was a shot. I rather assume the cross had fallen to the ground."
Some of the worshipers overwhelmed the man and held him until the police arrived, who were summoned by an emergency call. The police searched the 33-year-old and arrested him, he was then interrogated, reports the "Bild". Apparently there is the suspicion that the "33-year-old Essen man" is mentally ill.
The "Bild" remarked explicitly: "But the pastor remained firm, remained until the end in the church."
According to the newspaper "Westfälische Allgemeine Zeitung" (WAZ), "most of the 500 faithful" had rushed to the exit, "two women aged 56 and 18 were slightly injured". Some of the elderly worshipers were "externally uninjured," but the excitement had evidently grown too much. Outside the church, they had to be "supported by others; some of them went to medical treatment later because of circulatory problems." According to the WAZ, the police confirmed that the suspect "has Arabic roots" due to his name.
The online portal "Der Westen" reported that the suspect had been released again, that the Essen police had confirmed what the online portal belonging to the radio group had said. The man was probably mentally ill, explaindd the "Westen" further, now he was facing a charge because of disturbance of the worship. It was also planned that the police will show more presence in Vogelheim on Saturday evening than usual.