A Palm Sunday morning Mass suddenly became violent at a small Catholic church [Immaculate Conception Catholic Church] in northwest Nebraska.
As the pastor was reading the long Gospel narrative of Christ’s suffering, a Sheridan County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man just inside the doors of the Rushville, Nebraska, church.
The man — later identified as Clarence Leading Fighter, 32 — was a suspect in an assault that had occurred at a separate location less than an hour earlier, the Nebraska State Patrol said.
An initial investigation indicated that the deputy used deadly force to protect himself and the parishioners from potential serious harm, the patrol said.The Mass was never finished, ending abruptly as deputies cleared out the church after the shooting. [The pastor, Father Joseph] Joseph said he tried to offer peace and consolation to parishioners who were clearly shaken. And they tried to console him as well, he said.
Joseph said that as he read the Gospel, he heard the sound of someone falling and at first thought that someone had passed out. But then his mind raced to the thought of a terrorist attack as he looked back to a commotion near the glass doors that separate the entryway of the church from its sanctuary. Joseph said he saw several people rush into the entryway and didn’t immediately recognize them as law enforcement officers.
And there’s this:
The priest said he contacted Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt, head of the Grand Island Diocese, on Sunday. The bishop was looking into whether the church would have to be reconsecrated after the violence.