The teenager was disarmed by parishioners and then arrested

A teenage armed with a rifle who entered a Louisiana church was restrained by members of the congregation before he could carry out a mass shooting.

Video posted to social media shows the reaction of the priest and congregants as the teenager entered the Catholic church of St Mary Magdalen in Abbeville while a first-communion service for children was being held.


An anti Catholic terrorist was arrested after entering a Catholic Church with a rifle, intending to massacre children and families during a First Holy Communion ceremony in Abbeville, Louisiana

— Catholic Arena (@CatholicArena) May 12, 2024

As news of what was happening at the back of the church reached him, Father Nicholas DuPré, led the congregation in reciting the Hail Mary prayer.

A commotion can then be heard as parishioners as panic spread. The priest and altar boys duck for cover at one point, before a voice announces over the PA: “Just get a hold of your child. Go slowly. We did apprehend a young man. He’s in custody… Calm down and just get next to your child and go slowly.”

Police arrived on the scene and arrested the boy.

They later confirmed that the would-be shooter, aged just 16, is in custody and has been charged with “terrorizing” and two counts of possession of a firearm. After questioning by the police, he was taken to a hospital behavioural unit to be medically assessed.

There are no indications of the boy’s identity or his motivations at this time.

“While we realize this was a frightening experience for those in attendance, we are incredibly grateful to both parishioners and police officers for acting quickly to ensure the safety of all,” the church said in a statement.

The church said it will have uniformed officers at all upcoming masses “out of an abundance of cautious.”

Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy extended thanks to the clergy and parishioners “for their quick response and remaining calm” throughout the ordeal.

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