OCALA, FL — Steven Anthony Shields, a 24-year-old Ocala man, drove a minivan through the front doors of Queen of Peace Catholic Church early Saturday morning.
He then exited his vehicle, doused the vestibule with gasoline and set the building on fire while parishioners were in the building preparing for Mass, according to a report from Fox News.
And as quickly as he had burst into the building, he was gone.
Fortunately, he was seen leaving the scene by Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Gonzalez. He initiated pursuit, having to use a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT maneuver) to hit Shield’s van with his patrol car to get him to stop.
Marion County firefighters were able to douse the flames quickly. No one was injured, but the church sustained significant damage to the entrance, yet it was minor in comparison to what Shields intended.
“Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear,” Sheriff Billy Woods said on his department’s Facebook page. “My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace. 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.”
According to the sheriff’s statement:
“Shields has been charged with one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder, evidencing prejudice, a First-Degree Felony; one count of Arson to a Structure (where persons are normally present and which the Defendant had reasonable grounds to believe to be occupied by a human being), evidencing prejudice, a Life Felony; one count of Burglary of an Occupied Structure (with intent to commit a forcible felony, with assault while armed, using a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, and causing damage to the structure in excess of $1,000), while evidencing prejudice, a Life Felony; and one count of Felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude. He is being held in the Marion County Jail on no bond.”
Fortunately for parishioners of the church, they were able to move their Saturday evening Mass into the parish hall, as the sanctuary will be unusable until repairs have been made to the damaged sections.
According to court documents obtained by the Ocala Star-Banner, Shields told detectives he is mentally ill, but had stopped taking his medication. He told detectives what he did was “awesome” and smiled and laughed, according to an affidavit. He also said he was “on a mission,” called himself “king” and mentioned he has problems with the Catholic Church, referencing passages in the Bible’s Book of Revelations.
Like the followers of Christ who were under attack in Jesus’ time, worshippers today are also under attack. Churches and parishioners have come under renewed attack by both protesters and politicians.
Some protesters have physically threatened people trying to attend services and have vandalized or set fire to churches.
Politicians have shuttered various houses of worship, authorized citations against those attempting to attend religious services or dictated how services should be run.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked by a reporter from the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia:
“Are we in a pandemic or not? And do we have one set of rules for protesters and another for everyone else?”
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The following editorial is brought to you by a United States Veteran and staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
TROY, NY – It’s bad enough when government officials, hellbent on unconstitutional power grabs, do what they can to limit or outright abolish the 1st Amendment rights of Americans when it comes religion. It is even worse when mobs of people, hiding behind masks and a “peaceful” movement do what they can to disrupt the ability of Americans to go to church.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has made it a crime to sing in church.
In Tampa and Baton Rouge, pastors were arrested for continuing to hold church services during a pandemic.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot dispatched police officers to churches to issue citations for the people in attendance at services.
In New York City, Bill de Blasio threatened to confiscate churches and synagogues to keep people form attending.
All because COVID-19 apparently can spread in churches, but not in protests, acts of arson and looting or vandalism.
But now, staying in the state of New York, we have a group of Black Lives Matter activists, who claim to be all about equality for all, storming a church, shouting down the attendees of Grace Baptist Church in Troy.
They threatened to call Child Protective Services on parents for the “abusive” act of taking their kids to church on a Sunday. They went inside chanting, “black lives matter,” interrupting the service. They had to be escorted out by the police.
Side note: blasting a bullhorn into someone's ear is 100% an act of battery (civil and criminal) in all 50 states
— Will (@BilliamInternet) July 6, 2020
[Writer’s note: I am a Christian. I am also a parent. I applaud the restraint these people in the videos below were able to display.
If you come to my house or my church and put a bullhorn in my child’s face, and scream obscene things at them, we are going to have a problem. If you try to terrorize my children and create trauma for them. Words will be exchanged. So will fists.]
Christians at Grace Baptist Church in Troy, NY we’re gathering to worship Sunday when BLM stormed their sanctuary and took over their church.
Violent BLM members stopped the service and assaulted the peaceful Christians verbally and physically.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 6, 2020
These young children were more mature than the thugs berating them and their mother as they walked into church.
Hear as pastor asks them multiple to stop blocking the church entrance.
GBC men form a line to protect children. pic.twitter.com/iZYJaxH1sH
— Grace Baptist Church (@realgbctroyny) July 3, 2020
“One masked protestor walked up to a man inside the church and showed her tattoo, saying ‘Look. I’m a Christian preacher, you dumb f***.’
“A man says ‘black lives matter’ and the rest repeat the mantra, drowning out the preacher.
“Security approaches the protestors, and appears to touch one of them. This leads the others to say ‘Don’t touch anyone. Don’t touch him! Back up!’
“Security asks them to leave, saying ‘this is a house of God.’
“The protestors and the worshippers [sic] call each other bro. ‘Everyone’s a brother here.’
“‘Jesus loves you,’ a voice says.
“‘Jesus don’t love you,’ comes the reply.
“‘Don’t be disrespectful of God,’ a worshipper [sic] says.”
The Times-Union also ran with the story of the protest, calling the pastor “alt-right-wing.”
They also say that the protesters were there because the church was giving away an AR-15, and that they “briefly” blocked the entrance.
The video seems to contradict the Times-Unions account.
“Grace Baptist, which is led by alt-right-wing pastor Rev. John Koletas, has given away rifles at least twice before, once in 2014 and again in 2017. Six years ago, the giveaway was in response to New York’s SAFE Act and stricter gun laws.
The church says it is doing another gun giveaway Monday night. The motto of the church on the gun giveaway information reads, ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord lives, there is liberty.’
“Organizers from regional Black Lives Matter rallies arrived to take part in Sunday’s protest. Koletas’ sermons, which are posted weekly on the church’s Facebook page, are viewed by many as extreme.
In a recent sermon, he denounced the officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis as ‘evil,’ but then linked violence that broke out at some of the protests that followed the death as being caused by ‘a bunch of savages who have let their sins run rampant.’
“More protesters arrived Sunday, and eventually a handful stood in front of the church steps as people were trying to enter. A mother with her young children pushed her way through the protesters, and then some protesters with bullhorns shouted, ‘Save these kids.'”
But wait, I thought Black Lives Matter was all about black lives mattering. What does this church and their members have to do with “the movement?”
Perhaps it is because BLM is not who they say they are.
Even CNN’s Don Lemon let the cat out of the bag.
“The Black Lives Matter movement was started because it was started about police brutality. If you want an All Black Lives Matter movement that talks about gun violence in communities including Black communities, then start that movement with that name,” he said. “But that’s not what Black Lives Matter is about.”
So, what is it about?
The more news I read, the more insight I gain into the far-left, progressive mind, the more I am convinced that our battle we find ourselves fighting is a spiritual one.
Ephesians 6:12 (NASB) tells us:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”.
As I read social media posts like this one below, I realize that common sense and logic do not reside in the mind that says this.
"Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man's neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. To use the same language to describe those two things is not moral" –@nhannahjones on CBSN pic.twitter.com/GGteXRFwAr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 2, 2020
“Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.
To use the exact same language to describe those two things is not moral. I think any reasonable person would say ‘we shouldn’t be destroying people’s property’, but these are not reasonable times, said Nikole Hannah Jones.”
This is exactly what Isaiah was talking about in writing when he said in chapter 5, verse 20:
“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.”
Woe to those who call evil good, Ms. Jones. God is watching and he will judge accordingly.
So, prior to George Floyd’s tragic death, all we heard from the left was that words are violence, as they tried to push hate speech legislation to criminalize a certain type of thought/speech. And the type that was subject to such policing was conservative thought and speech.
Now, we are being told that rioting and looting are not violent and are necessary to bring about the “needed” change.
Apparently, in view of Jones’ statement above, evil is good.
So, just quick question for Jones.
Is this violence?
Woman business owner beaten by mob while her husband pleads for attackers to stop
We need the National Guard in every city with a riot and we need it NOW pic.twitter.com/rnXy1qkx2t
— Rogan O’Handley ?? (@DC_Draino) May 31, 2020
Looks like violence to me. But you go right ahead and argue that these are not reasonable times. Please stand behind your Pulitzer prize and justify the beating that this older woman took at the hands of grown men who were just “peacefully” looting.
That is, after all what reasonable people do in unreasonable times, right?
What about this one?
A 12-year-old boy was attacked in Cape last night. Police are searching for the suspect. https://t.co/Bqy102bUgG
— KFVS News (@kfvsnews) July 4, 2020
While people blindly cry that BLM and the protests forming from their movement are just about equal justice and police brutality, the evidence says otherwise.
Yeah, that is ALL this is about.
And Jones, in all of her “wokeness” admitted that Black Lives Matter is only a reality when it is a white on black crime.
You’re absolutely right. We see no problem with our people getting murdered as long as we’re the ones doing the murdering! Doesn’t even phase us. (Why are y’all like this)
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 7, 2020
I also do not want to see one more tweet insinuating that Black people only care about killing when police do it. As if we don’t mourn, fight, advocate and take to the street against gun violence. As if we somehow don’t love our children and families like anyone else.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 6, 2020
To her defense, she is right. Parents mourn the loss of a child to violence. And yes, most parents love their children more than life itself.
But simultaneously, she said that they take to the streets against gun violence.
I would argue that if people take to the streets to protest the number of murders in Chicago, the mainstream media has not provided any coverage. And there certainly haven’t been any BLM murals painted on the streets, commissioned by the city and paid for by taxpayer dollars.
Hence the reason there are people who might be inclined to believe that not BLM doesn’t really believe all black lives matter, just the ones that advance a narrative or win political favor.
It is why names like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are mentioned as victims of police brutality, when neither were. Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, Brown was killed after assaulting an officer and trying to take his weapon.
Now we understand why so many people are offended when someone says all lives matter, it doesn’t advance the narrative. Remember this?
View this post on Instagram
INSANE! If you say “All Lives Matter” she’s “gonna stab you!” ??? ALL LIVES MATTER! ? #trump #donaldtrump #maga2020 #americafirst #alllivesmatter #maga #makeamericagreatagain #potus #kag #keepamericagreat #trumptrain #trumpsupporters #liberalmemes #liberalismisamentaldisorder
But here is the reality.
The far left will never denounce the mob mentality or the violent havoc that they wreak.
Part of the reason is because it wouldn’t advance their narrative. The other reason?
They wallow in a pit of moral depravity. And they flat out lie or manipulate data to say what they want it to say.
Wait. I thought it was black criminality that leads to poor policing. Isn’t that what you argued above? Also, 5 black people a week are killed by police on average. None of them sparked protests either, Mr. Harvard.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 7, 2020
The facts do not back up the claims.
While 250 black people died in 2019 either in confrontations with police or in police custody, she stops her statement long before sharing the reality that of those 250 deaths, 236 of the deceased were armed or posing a threat to law enforcement or the community. That leaves 14 deaths where the individual was unarmed.
In the instances where the officers were determined to be guilty of a crime, they were brought to justice through the proper due process. In all of the other scenarios, the actions were deemed to be justified.
So what about that black-on-black crime that drives these protestors to the streets?
When a black person murders another black person, the expectation is that person will be charged & punished. People are protesting bc they expect that same accountability when armed agents of the state kill. It’s not hard to understand unless you’re invested in not understanding.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 7, 2020
And we are seeing exactly that in the case of the Minneapolis police officers that were involved with George Floyd’s death. We saw it with Amber Guyger after she shot and killed Botham Jean.
Fourteen deaths last year of unarmed black men by police in 2019. And that is reason enough, for Jones anyway, for people to be burning down entire neighborhoods.
There have been 240 black people murdered in Chicago in the first 6 months and 6 days of 2020.
That is 17 times the number of unarmed black men killed the previous year. It was almost exactly the same number of black people killed across the country in confrontations with police in 2019. Are we seeing protests, riots, looting and arson for those 240 victims from Chicago alone?
Nope, the expectation is that the guilty will be captured, charged, tried, convicted and punished.
Yet, with more than 50 million interactions in this country annually between police and the public, 14 deaths are reason to burn down businesses that are in completely different cities than where most of the killings took place?
Yeah, that definitely passes the “reasonable persons’ test.
Just using these tweets by Jones, who at first glance appears to remain calm and cool in her interactions on social media, we can understand why the left will not call for an end to the mob-mentality violence.
If they were to apply the truth of what we have written in this article, they would have no justification for their cries to defund police.
If they cannot defund and dismantle police, how can they replace them with agents who will enforce their socialist regimes and ideologies that will no doubt start to take shape if the left is successful in winning this next election and seize control of the Senate and maintains control of the House.
And that my friends is the answer to the question in the headline.
Accepting the truth about police brutality does not allow the left to push their dangerous and life-altering transformation form a democratic Republic to the quagmire of a socialist dictatorship.
And now you know.
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