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Teenager With Gun Stopped at First Communion Mass in Louisiana

The community at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, were preparing for a First Communion mass involving approximately 60 children on Saturday.

Anticipating a joyous celebration, they looked forward to coming together for this special occasion.

However, there were unsettling moments that disrupted the reverent atmosphere of the day. During the Catholic mass, while Fr. Nicholas Duper was at the altar, a man approached him around 48 minutes in and whispered something in his ear. This was an unusual and unexpected interruption during the service.

The priest appeared to receive the information with concern, prompting him to ask the parishioners to sit and join him in prayer as he began reciting a “Hail Mary.”


Next, the priest and deacons quickly hide behind the altar while altar boys scurry behind them. Amid the chaos of screaming, police officers navigate through the scene.

You could hear someone say, “Just get a hold of your child. Go slowly. We did apprehend a young man… Calm down and just get next to your child, and go slowly.”

He was trying to encourage the parents to leave slowly without panicking.

There was a tense situation unfolding as a suspicious armed individual, a teenager dressed in black, had entered the church vestibule with a gun.

Quick-thinking parishioners intervened, subduing and holding the intruder down until the police arrived to make an arrest.

The teenager mentioned the presence of a second person, prompting law enforcement to halt the mass, inform the priest of the situation, and conduct a thorough search of the church for safety measures.

It is difficult to fathom the emotions experienced by the parents and children in those moments.

Gratefully, there were vigilant parishioners who intervened, with guardian angels watching over them.

No other individuals were discovered, and thankfully, no injuries occurred.

The suspect was arrested and later charged with terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile. Witnesses told KADN of Lafayette that he was dressed all in black and armed with the rifle.

He was questioned at Abbeville Police Department, alongside a parent, before he was taken to Abbeville General Hospital’s behavioral unit for evaluation, police said.

The communion service proceeded as planned, with the Church informing congregants that both the FBI and local police would be investigating the matter.

Additionally, police protection would be provided outside the church during future masses as a precautionary measure.

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Joe Messina

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