Parishioners and police tackled a woman who entered a San Diego church service carrying a baby and a handgun on Easter Sunday, Fox 5 San Diego reported.
Police first received calls about an armed woman at a church service hosted at Mt. Everest Academy, near the intersection of Balboa and Genessee avenues in Clairemont, around noon. Witnesses said the woman came up on stage through a back entrance, holding a gun in one hand and a young child in the other.
Churchgoers said the woman was shouting incomprehensibly, making comments about “martyrs” and “the rapture.” Members of the congregation eventually tackled the woman, police said, and officers arrived a short time later to take the woman into custody.
Ronald Farmer was inside the church when the chaos broke out. “We were just about to finish up our service and a lady came in with a gun and started talking delusional stuff,” Farmer said. He ushered his family out of the building with a group of other people, then returned to find officers and a group of parishioners had wrestled away the gun and the child.
David Michael Miller had arrived late from volunteering at a Marine boot camp. He said within a couple minutes of arriving, the woman burst into the church. Church leaders tried to talk the woman down, but she was pointing the weapon at parishioners and the baby, Miller said.
Eventually a man grabbed her arm and a group of other people, including Miller, helped wrestle her to the ground. “I just stayed in to help however I could,” Miller said. When officers arrived, the woman tried to escape again, but police tackled her and took her away, according to Miller.
Brother Ben Wisan, a church leader, said the woman was familiar to the congregation. “We knew who she was. She had been coming on and off for a little bit of time. And we had been praying for her because we wanted to see her set free,” Wisan said.
Officers were seen walking out of the church with a young child in their arms. Police Lt. Christian Sharp said the woman’s second child was at a daycare center in Bonita. Officials did not immediately comment on who will take custody of the kids.
No one, including the woman, was injured in the incident.