Terrifying Moments: Teenager With Gun Stopped at First Communion Mass in Louisiana

The folks at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, were having a First Communion mass for about 60 kids on Saturday. They likely thought that they were going to have a beautiful celebration together. 


But unfortunately, they also had some scary moments that intruded on the solemnity of the day. As the priest Fr. Nicholas Duper was on the altar, at about 48 minutes in, you can see a man come up to the altar, bend over, and whisper in his ear. That is certainly not a usual occurrence during a Catholic mass. You can see the priest absorbing something, and then he suddenly asks the parishioners to sit and to pray, as he starts to say a “Hail Mary.” 

Then you see the priest and the deacons duck behind the altar, as altar boys run behind the altar and police move around amid screaming. 

You could hear someone say, “Just get a hold of your child. Go slowly. We did apprehend a young man… Calm down and just get next to your child, and go slowly.” He was trying to encourage the parents to leave slowly without panicking. 


What was going on was that there was a suspicious armed person — a teenager dressed in black — who had entered the church vestibule with a gun. Parishioners stopped him and detained him, pinning him to the ground. Then the police came and arrested him. But he initially said that there was a second person involved. That’s why the police then had to interrupt the mass, let the priest know what was going on, and then search the church to make sure it was safe. 

They said there would be police protection at all the upcoming masses. 

I can’t imagine what the parents and the kids must have felt in those moments. And thank God for the sharp parishioners who had the sense to stop him. They must have had angels on their shoulders protecting them. 

Nobody else was found, and fortunately, no one was hurt.

The suspect was arrested and later charged with terrorizing the church and two counts of possession of a firearm by a juvenile. Witnesses told KADN of Lafayette that he was dressed all in black and armed with the rifle.

He was questioned at Abbeville Police Department, alongside a parent, before he was taken to Abbeville General Hospital’s behavioral unit for evaluation, police said.


The communion service did continue. The Church said the FBI would be looking into the matter as well as the local police and that they would be having police protection outside the church for the foreseeable future at masses out of an abundance of caution. 


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