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Posted: June 21, 2016

Florida man threatens churchgoers days after decapitating 875-year-old statue, police say

By Ryan DiPentima

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A man stormed a South Florida church and threatened to shoot the people inside just days after decapitating an 875-year-old statue, authorities said.

According to the Miami Herald, Jorge Arizamendoza, 33, entered North Miami Beach’s Ancient Spanish Monastery, the meeting place of St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, on Sunday during a Mass to remember the victims of the Orlando shooting, police said.

Arizamendoza started ranting and making threats toward church members, authorities said.

“He said he was going to shoot me and anyone who stayed in the church,” the Rev. Gregory Mansfield told the Herald. “The fact that this man came in right on the heels of Orlando was scary.”

Arizamendoza bought a ticket Thursday for a tour of the monastery and screamed at groups conducting Masses on the grounds, police said. He also threw a rock at an electric sign, causing $2,000 in damage before driving off, according to authorities.

Police said he returned around 2 a.m. the next and decapitated an 875-year-old statue of Spanish King Alphonso VII, according to the Herald.

When Arizamendoza returned Sunday, several church members recognized him, and he ran off.

Arizamendoza was arrested and charged with aggravated assault at a religious institution, two counts of criminal mischief at a place of worship, disturbing religious assembly and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.

He is being held on a $75,000 bond.

Read more at the Miami Herald.


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