Driving Out The Intruder: Lessons From San Diego

There are two things that happen in an active attacker incident (I don’t use the term shooter):  the attack begins and while people try to figure out if it’s real, people die.  When I first started my police career a grizzled old veteran corrected my thinking when he said, “Don’t think if, think when.”

Thinking “when” completely changes your mindset because you go from a nebulous “probably won’t happen, but if it does I will do X, Y, Z” to “It will happen, here is my plan.”

I’ve started up the Church Security Report Video again because it saves time getting a video up instead of taking a week to write an article.  I can talk and show things vs. just writing.

So Here Is Episode 1:


ISIS Claims Responsibility For Sri Lanka Attacks

In the United States, most church attacks have occurred due to domestic violence spill over from home to the church environment.  Worldwide, Christians have been under attack from terrorist organizations, independent lone wolf attacks, local criminals, government organizations, and opposing religious groups Muslims and Hindus.

The Jerusalem Post published an article this week stating ISIS claimed responsibility for the 300 lost lives and 500 injuries from bombings perpetrated by their followers.

According to the Post:


Muslim terrorists killed over 300 people and wounded over 500 in an attack on a church on Easter Sunday.

Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019.Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka that killed 321 people in what officials believe was retaliation for assaults on mosques in New Zealand.The claim, issued through the group’s AMAQ news agency, was made after Sri Lanka said two domestic Islamist groups with suspected links to foreign militants were suspected to have been behind the attacks at three churches and four hotels. About 500 people were also wounded in the bombings.”

Teen Breaks Into Church And Strangles Elderly Organist

A suspect was arrested April 24, 2019 in Centerville, Utah for a crime that occurred in November.  Police reported the suspect,  a teenager, broke into the Mormon meetinghouse at 270 N. 300 East Centerville on a Saturday in November 2018 while the 71 year old organist was rehearsing.

According to Centerville Police Lt. Zan Robison, the victim was practicing the organ at about 9 p.m. when she heard a loud pounding for several minutes on the locked door of the chapel. The suspect was able to gain entry into the church by breaking a window.

He then came up behind her and choked her out multiple times.  Detectives were able to collect DNA evidence left behind on discarded objects by the subject which were sent to the state lab for processing.  According to Deseret News:

“This investigation took several months, but it remained a priority for us…Centerville Police Chief Paul Child said, there is no known connection between the boy and the woman. We have informed the victim of this incident of the arrest, and she expressed relief,” police said.”


Former Member Sets Fire To His Former Church

A former member of Iglesia Pentecostal de Bethlehem church in Bethlehem Pennsylvania is accused of setting two fires to his former church this past week.

According to Philly.com

“Bethlehem police say 43-year-old Wilmer Ortiz Torres was arraigned Friday night on arson, criminal trespass and burglary charges. He had been arrested earlier in the day after authorities reviewed surveillance video from a public housing complex across the street from the church.”

The first fire at the church occurred Tuesday (April 23, 2019) which gutted the sanctuary and

Photo Credit: Sarah Cassi | leighighvalleylive.com

caused smoke and water damage. A second fire was set Thursday (April 25, 2019) on the church roof but was quickly extinguished.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

Torres reportedly had issues with the church.  No further details were provided further. According to investigators, Torres allegedly used an accelerant in the arsons. The first fire caused extensive smoke damage.  The fire apparently was choked out due to a lack of oxygen.  The second fire was set on the roof of the church above the sanctuary.  A passerby observed the fire, contacted the fire department, and the flames were extinguished.

Bethlehem Fire Department arson dog Silver sniffed out the accelerant both times. Fire Marshal Craig Baer declared both fires arson.  Investigators checked video from surrounding businesses, which enabled them to identify the suspect.

Church Arson suspect Wilmer J. Ortiz Torres, 43, of Allentown, PA

The suspect, Wilmer J. Ortiz Torres, 43, of the 500 block of West Chew Street in Allentown is in custody.

The investigation is a joint venture with local police and the ATF.  The ATF responds when arson involves a church. Sunday services will be held for churchgoers at First Presbyterian Church from noon to 3 p.m. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the church asking for donations to help rebuild it.

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