Man brings gun into a Virginia church service after vague online threats, police say

by | Sep 26, 2023 | Religion

HAYMARKET, Va. (AP) — A man posted vague online threats of violence and images of a Virginia church before going inside with a loaded handgun and two knives during Sunday services, police said Monday.The man was arrested and no one was hurt after officers rushed to Park Valley Church, having been tipped off by someone who saw his “suspicious and concerning online postings,” the Prince William County Police Department said in a news release.
The investigation involved three police departments across two states, beginning with a Maryland resident’s tip and ending with the man’s arrest in Haymarket, Virginia, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Washington, the news release said.
Authorities did not offer a possible motive. But it comes at a time when faith leaders in the U.S. are ramping up security at some houses of worship. In recent years, there’s been a stark uptick in concerning episodes at churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.
Rui Jiang, 35, of Falls Church, Virginia, was charged with threats of bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon to a place of religious worship, police said. The threat charge is a felony, while the weapons charge is a misdemeanor, according to online court records.
Police said Jiang is being held without bond. A public defender was listed as Jiang’s …

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