Parishioners stop a gunman from attacking First Communion with 60 children inside

ABBEVILLE, LA – A potential disaster was averted this past weekend at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville, Louisiana. A teenager, clad in black and armed with a rifle, was prevented from entering the church where a First Communion service was in progress. Inside, 60 children were participating in the sacred rite.

The incident unfolded during a live-streamed service. Forty-eight minutes into the ceremony, a man approached the priest on the altar, Father Nicholas Dupre, and whispered something to him. Father Dupre halted the service, asked everyone to sit, and began to recite the Hail Mary prayer.

Soon after, attention shifted to the back of the church. Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy reported that his office was alerted to the situation around 10:35 a.m. Officers quickly arrived at the church, even making their way to the altar, where altar servers sought refuge and clergy members hid.

Eyewitnesses say the teen, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, was confronted by churchgoers, escorted out of the church, and subsequently arrested. It was also reported that police were concerned about the possibility of another armed individual inside the church, prompting a thorough sweep of the premises.

An officer reassured the congregation, stating, “We did apprehend a young man. He is in custody. Calm down and get next to your child and just go slowly.” Following this incident, it has been announced that there will be increased security at St. Mary Magdalen for all future masses.

The suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was taken to the Abbeville Police Department for questioning with his parent present. He was later transported to Abbeville General Hospital Behavioral Unit for a medical evaluation. The teen now faces charges of terrorizing and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile.

The investigation is being conducted by Abbeville police, Vermilion Parish sheriff’s deputies, and the FBI. Chief Hardy expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the FBI and the deputies of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office. He also commended the clergy and parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen Church for their quick response and composure during the incident.