The suspect behind a violent NM. church stabbing on Sunday morning has been identified. According to police, 24-year-old Lawrence Capener is currently being detained and questioned in connection with the brutal assault that left four parishioners injured.
Capener is accused of launching into a viscous stabbing attack during Sunday services at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to witnesses, the suspect suddenly jumped from his seat and began repeatedly stabbing the choir leader. Three additional choir members were also injured during the attack.
Tasia Martinez, a spokesperson for the Albuquerque Police Department, confirmed that Capener was taken into custody following the altercation.
“He is currently being interviewed and will be facing numerous felony charges,” Martinez explained.
According to authorities, Capener is not a member of the NM church, and his motive in the stabbing attack has not been determined.
Vanessa Lucero, a 14-year-old parishioner and witness to the stabbing, claims the suspect was seated directly in front of her before the attack began.
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, she described Capener as “kind of twitchy, sketchy looking. He had a tattoo of an upside-down star on his wrist.”
According to other church members, the choir was in the midst of performing a hymn when Capener suddenly rushed forward with his weapon drawn. Some parishioners recall the suspect shouting, “Fake preacher!” as he proceeded to punch and stab the choir soloist. In the ensuing scuffle, three other choir members were also stabbed.
“While that was going on, people were just panicking. It was scary, you wouldn’t think something like that would happen in church,” explained Reyes Stinson, who also witnessed the stabbing.
Several church members — including an off-duty fire fighter — managed to physically restrain Capener, pinning him to the ground until authorities arrived at the church.
“The scene was chaotic when officers arrived and it was quickly ascertained that numerous parishioners essentially jumped on the male offender and held him down until officers arrived,” described Martinez.
The four NM church stabbing victims, whose names have not yet been released, were taken to local hospitals for treatment. According to Albuquerque police, they escaped the violent assault with non-life threatening injuries and are expected to fully recover.