Man accused of threatening priest at University Heights-area church arrested

Posted at 12:46 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 20:45:59-04

SAN DIEGO – A man who allegedly entered a University Heights church and threatened to kill a priest was taken into custody following a brief standoff.

At about 11:45 a.m., San Diego police officers responded reports of a man with intent to harm a priest at St. John the Evangelist Church on 1638 Polk Ave., near Park Blvd.

Police said the man claimed to have a gun but was later found to be armed with only a pair of scissors he obtained inside the church.

Father Tommie Jennings, who was inside at the time, told 10News other priests contacted him and advised him to lock his door and protect himself.

Jennings said he barricaded himself in a room, and told 10News, "What if he's up here and what am I going to do? So [I] had a hammer in my hands."

Officers surrounded the building, but the suspect refused and remained holed up in the church. Shortly after 12:45 p.m., the man surrendered without incident.

The man was not identified.

MTS officials said busses 1, 215 and 11 were temporarily re-routed away from the area during the police activity.

The priest who was the apparent target was not harmed.