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Police Arrest Man Accused of Shooting Into Catholic Church in San Francisco

Articles | February 1, 2024 | by Catholics for Catholics

By Tyler Arnold at Catholic News Agency

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 31, 2024 / 18:43 pm

Police arrested 22-year-old Debari Charvel Augustine of San Francisco for allegedly shooting toward St. Augustine Catholic Church in South San Francisco, California, Tuesday afternoon when there were people in the church. 

No one was injured in the attack, but police charged Augustine with several felony counts, which included attempted murder, shooting into a dwelling, and possession of an assault weapon. The parish notified parishioners through its Facebook page that the gunshots did make contact with the building but did not hit any of the people inside. 

“Our church’s main doors that were closed at the time of the incident were majorly vandalized with several gunshots,” the post read. “The offender didn’t gain entry to the church and no one was hurt.”

The suspect initially fled the scene, but South San Francisco police worked with police in San Mateo and San Francisco counties to identify and arrest Augustine later that evening. He was arrested in San Francisco and transported to the San Mateo County Jail for booking. 

“Great job by all those involved in identifying and capturing this suspect and keeping our city and community safe,” the police department wrote in a Facebook post.

The authorities have not yet disclosed a motive for the shooting.

St. Augustine Catholic Church closed its parish office and did not hold in-person services on Wednesday per the advice of the police. Scheduled in-person religious education and confirmation classes for Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday were advised to switch to virtual classes. 

The parish has been in contact with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and the Department of Safety and Security of the Archdiocese of San Francisco about the shooting. 

“Let’s keep our prayers for the safety, peace, and security that need to remain in God’s house,” the parish statement read.

Just two weeks ago, on Jan. 17, a Mass at a southern California Catholic church was interrupted by police pursuit of an alleged armed man whom the officers suspected of firing at least one shot in the vicinity before entering the church.

For the original Catholic News Agency article click here.

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