Man With Sword Killed, 2 Officers Injured During Scientology Church Shooting

Little is known about what happened inside of a Scientology church after a man carrying a sword entered the Inglewood church.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

A man has been shot and killed at a Scientology church in California during an incident that left two police officers injured.

Police responded to a report that a “suspicious” suspect armed with a sword had entered the Church of Scientology in Inglewood on Wednesday afternoon, the Inglewood Police Department said in a news release. Two responding officers “made contact” with the sword-wielding man, leading to gunfire; the suspect was shot.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department treated the suspect at the scene before he was rushed to a local hospital, where he died from his wounds, according to police.

Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said that the two injured officers, both of whom are in their late 20s, were hospitalized for minor injuries. One was shot in the hand while the other was struck in the arm, but they are both said to be in good condition, USA Today reports.

One witness reportedly told a friend, via text message, that the man with the sword was a “weird guy” who was “acting crazy,” according to KTLA, a Los Angeles-area station affiliated with the CW. However, his identity has not been confirmed. Authorities have said that the suspect was Asian and drove to the church in a white Bentley, KTLA reports. His motivations for going to the church and wielding a sword, as well as what specifically happened during his confrontation with police, remain unclear.

Police pictured outside a Church of Scientology in Inglewood, California in March 2019

Aside from the sword-wielding man and the two officers, no one was injured during the encounter, the Los Angeles Times reports. The incident remains under investigation.

Lieutenant Oscar Mejia told KTLA that investigators are searching the area for evidence and are examining video of the incident. Police are also investigating whether or not the suspect had a gun, and are currently in contact with more than five witnesses, the outlet reports.

“The Inglewood Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation as well as an administrative investigation,” police said. “The District Attorney’s Officer Involved Shooting roll-out team responded to the scene and they are conducting a parallel investigation.”

The Church of Scientology praised officers for their handling of the situation in a statement obtained by the Times.

“We thank the Inglewood Police Department for their rapid response in protecting our parishioners and staff members,” its statement reads. “These officers are doing a heroic job protecting the community and keeping houses of worship safe.”

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