At least four people were hurt at an Albuquerque church Sunday when a visitor jumped out of the pews and stabbed a choir member during a song, police and witnesses said.
The victims did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, police said.
Two parishioners told the Los Angeles Times that after communion at the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church on Sunday morning, a man in his teens or early 20s leaped from the pews and stabbed the choir’s lead singer while the choir was singing.
“While that was going on, people were just panicking. It was scary, you wouldn’t think something like that would happen in church,” Reyes Stinson, 18, told The Times.
Another parishioner, Vanessa Lucero, 14, told The Times she was sitting right behind the man, who “was kind of twitchy, sketchy looking. He had a tattoo of an upside-down star on his wrist.”
Lucero said the man climbed over the pews, punched and then repeatedly stabbed the choir’s lead singer.
“He said, like, ‘False preacher!’ ” Lucero said. “I don’t know why.”
The congregation subdued the attacker, at which point more parishioners could have been stabbed, Stinson said.
After the suspect was in handcuffs, Lucero said, “Old ladies were telling him, ‘God bless you, forgive yourself,’ and he was saying, ‘You don’t know about the Masons.’ “