WASHINGTON, D.C. — A man attacked two guards at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
A domestic dispute was apparently behind the attack at what’s believed to be the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, assistant police Chief Jeffery Carroll told news outlets.
Police said Dorsey Lee Mack III, 48, first struck a female guard with a car, pinning her against another vehicle, before crashing into her again. A male guard then tried to intervene and was chased by the man through the Basilica and into the church’s crypt, where the guard was stabbed several times, church rector Monsignor Walter Rossi told The Washington Post. He said there appears to be no other relation to the shrine other than that the guards worked there.
The man fled to an area home, where he barricaded himself inside as heavily armed officers surrounded the home and closed nearby streets. The man eventually surrendered about two hours after the attack started, the assistant police chief said. He was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries.
The man was then charged with assault with intent to kill. Carroll said Mack and the female guard were in a domestic relationship. It’s unclear if Mack has a lawyer.
The guards’ conditions were unclear as of Wednesday morning. The shrine employs some 50 guards, shrine spokeswoman Jacquelyn Hayes said. Security staff isn’t armed, but that has been under reconsideration as part of a monthslong procedural review, the church’s rector said.
After Mack’s arrest, the rector hosted a scheduled Mass and prayed with the victims at a hospital.
“He not only prayed for our security guards who were victims, but he also prayed for the perpetrator. That is who we are here at the Basilica,” Hayes told reporters, noting that parishioners flocked to the service to show their support.
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