News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Shields Thumb.PNG
World News

Florida man crashes car into church, sets fire to building with congregation inside

A Florida man has been arrested after crashing his car into a church and setting fire to the building, while people inside prepared for a weekend worship service. 

According to officials, 24-year-old Steven Shields drove his vehicle through the doors of the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala at 7.30 am on Saturday, before dousing the entrance lobby with gasoline and setting it alight. 

Shields was apprehended after Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josue Gonzales, spotted him fleeing the scene and gave chase. 

Marion County Fire Rescue was able to extinguish the flames quickly. Despite parishioners preparing for mass at the time of the attack, incredibly, no-one was seriously injured. In his police interview, Shields said he targeted the Catholic church “mission", noting that he was schizophrenic and currently off his medication. 

Shields has been charged with attempted second-degree murder, arson to a structure of a structure believed to be occupied, burglary of an occupied structure using a motor vehicle and felony fleeing.

Sheriff Billy Woods said: “Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear. My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace.”

He added: “I’m proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside of us during this investigation.”

The damage to the church was described as "extensive".

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate