Sword-Wielding Man Shot Dead in L.A. Scientology Center During Police Confrontation
A man reportedly carrying a sword was shot during a confrontation with police at the Church of [...]
A man reportedly carrying a sword was shot during a confrontation with police at the Church of Scientology of Inglewood, California and later died at a hospital Wednesday. Two Inglewood police officers were also shot.
Inglewood Police Lt. Neal Cochran told the Los Angeles Times the suspect went into the church on S. Market Street at about 3:30 p.m. local time and was wearing a hoodie. Police did not describe what happened, but one officer was shot in the hand and the other in the forearm. The injuries are not life-threatening.
Inglewood Police Lt. Oscar Mejia said police are still determining if the suspect had a gun. Police said he drove up in a white Bentley, and entered the church with a "very large sword." Meija said five people were in the lobby at the time.
The suspect has not been identified. Meija said it would be "improper" to speculate why the suspect entered the church.
Rebecca Hirsch, an employee at a nearby store, said she heard a sound that sounded like a gunshot at about 3:30 p.m. She said the scene was blocked off by police, who told her she could not leave her shop.
"They took a young man away in the ambulance," Hirsch told the Times.
Ron Sigur went to an area restaurant about an hour after the incident and police still had three blocks cordoned off.
"The police aren't playing around — all of them are out here," Sigur told the Times. "This is my city, I live in Inglewood. I want to know what happened."
"We thank the Inglewood Police Department for their rapid response in protecting our parishioners and staff members," the Church of Scientology said in a statement. "These officers are doing a heroic job protecting the community and keeping houses of worship safe."
This was not the first time a man carrying a sword was shot and killed after entering a Scientology location in Los Angeles County. In November 2008, former Scientologist Mario Majorski, 48, entered the church's Celebrity Centre with two swords. He was shot and killed by a security guard, who did not face criminal charges, the Times reported in December 2008. According to prosecutors, Majorksi said "something about revenge" as he threatened the guards. The Church said Majorski previously made threatening phone calls to their offices in California and Oregon.
According to NBC News, swords are important symbols in Scientology. Founder L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health began as part of an unpublished book called Excalibur, the same name as the sword in the King Arthur legends.
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