Man Charged In Stabbings At New Mexico Church

Albequerque, NM — A man was charged on Monday in the stabbings of four people at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church. The stabbings happened on Sunday as the choir began its final hymn.

A man vaulted over several pews and lashed out at the singers with a knife, injuring four. Worshippers screamed as the chaotic scene unfolded. The attacker continued his assault until he was tackled and held down by church members for officers.

Police raced to the scene to arrest the suspect, 24-year-old Lawrence Capener. Included in the injured was church choir director Adam Alvarez and flutist Gerald Madrid, according to police spokesman Robert Gibbs. All four were listed in stable condition.

Capener was charged late Sunday on three counts of aggravated battery. He was held on $75,000 bail. It was not immediately clear what prompted the stabbings at the 11 am Mass on the city’s west side.

Reverend John Daniel, pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus, stated that Capener’s mother was “very active” in the parish. She serves there as a Eucharistic minister. Daniel added that Lawrence “was here occasionally but not very often.” Madrid spoke of how he tried to stop Capener during the stabbing, but was stabbed in the neck and back for his efforts. Madrid recalled:

“I bear-hugged him. We were chest to chest. I was wrapping about to take him down to ground, but I didn’t have his arms. I just had my arms around his chest, so his arms were free. So that’s when he started stabbing me.”

Madrid initially thought the suspect was punching hum, until other parishioners rushed to help him. It was then he realized he was stabbed five times. According to the criminal complaint against Lawrence Capener, the 24-year-old went after the choir leader because he thought the man was a Mason.

The suspect added that he stabbed the others who tried to stop him because he thought they were also Masons. In the affidavit, Capener apologized for stabbing the others after he was read his rights and agreed to speak with police. He added to investigators that Masons are a group involved “in a conspiracy that is far more reaching than I could or would believe.”

It is not clear when the suspect in the New Mexico church stabbings will make his next appearance in court.

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