Fedorovekb/iStock(SAN DIEGO) — A woman allegedly wielding an unloaded gun in one hand and holding a baby in the other interrupted an Easter service at a Southern California church by shouting bomb threats before she was detained by worshippers, police said.
The incident occurred around noon on Sunday at the Tsidkenu Church, a non-denominational church, in the San Diego suburb of Clairemont, according to the San Diego Police Department.
The suspect, Anna Conkey, 31, was taken into custody and booked at the San Diego County jail on suspicion of making criminal threats and displaying a handgun in a threatening manner, police said.
The incident unfolded just hours after suicide bombers killed nearly 300 people in a series of coordinated explosions at churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, more than 9,000 miles away.
NBC station KNSD-TV in San Diego reported that Conkey had worked for the station as a freelance producer and intern.
Police said the congregation of the Tsidkenu Church, which uses an auditorium at a public school for Sunday services, was wrapping up Easter services when Conkey walked in holding a gun and a 10-month-old baby.
“The female walked up on stage and made threats that she was going to blow up the church while waving the handgun,” San Diego police said in a statement.
Before police officers arrived at the church, members of the congregation disarmed the women, according to the police statement.
“We were just about to finish up our service and a lady came in with a gun and started talking delusional stuff and just kind of kept it [the gun] at the ground, didn’t really have a finger in it and she had an infant baby with her,” Ronald Farmer, a member of the congregation, told OnScene TV. “So my first thought was get my family out of there and I went back in to just make sure if everything happened that there were enough men around that the situation could be controlled.”
Another member of the church, who only wanted to be identified as Craig, said that he managed to take the gun away from the women while other church-goers tackled her.
Church member, David Michael Miller, a military serviceman, said the woman at one point pointed the gun at the baby.
“She starts talking all this craziness about the rapture not being real and everyone’s going to hell and so everyone started praying and then they all ushered out of the service and the leaders and the pastor were up front and they were trying to talk her down,” Miller told OnScene TV. “I was just slowly approaching watching them talk her down. And she was just being very apprehensive, pointing the gun at them, pointing the gun at her baby, saying, ‘Don’t come any closer. Don’t come any closer.'”
He said that after Craig grabbed the gun from Conkey, a couple of other men tackled her.
“We got the baby away from her,” Miller said. “A few minutes after that, the cops came in. She was trying to run away or something so a cop tackled her through a row of chairs.”
Police said the gun Conkey was allegedly armed with was not loaded.
Conkey’s baby was not harmed and was placed in protective custody, police said. An investigation led police to Conkey’s 5-year-old daughter at an undisclosed location and she was placed into protective custody, police said.
“She just wanted attention, she wanted a conversation, she wanted to say all this stuff,” Ben Wisan, the pastor of the church, told On Scene TV. “We knew who she was, she had been coming on and off for a little bit of time and we’d been praying for her because we wanted to see her set free. There was a lot of stuff bugging her.”
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