US: Marion County man drives into church, lights fire with people inside
Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after they say a man drove into a church then lit a fire.
A driver plowed into a Florida church and then set it on fire as parishioners prepared for mass Saturday, but no one was hurt, authorities said.
Deputies have taken into custody 24-year-old Steven Anthony Shields after he allegedly crashed a minivan through the front doors of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala at about 7:30 a.m. as those inside prepared for morning services, deputies say.
Shields allegedly got out and threw some kind of incendiary device, causing a fire that resulted in extensive damage to the building.
Shields drove off but was stopped by deputies nearby.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is helping with the investigation.
The Diocese of Orlando released a statement Saturday following the incident:
“We praise God that no one was injured. We join in prayer for Father O’Doherty, the parishioners of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, our first responders and the gentleman who caused this damage. May we come to know the Peace of the Lord.Masses will resume as normal in the parish hall beginning this evening.” (The Diocese of Orlando)