NM church surges: Mass-goers escape injury due to the fact that “” everyone was kneeling and facing the altar”” …

Robin Zielinski — Sun-News While waiting in a staging area, Holy Cross Catholic Church Monsignor John Anderson tries to get in touch with other

Robin Zielinski-- Sun-News While waiting in a staging area, Holy Cross Catholic Church Monsignor John Anderson aims to contact other local churches to alert them of the two explosions that occurred Sunday early morning and to be alert.

See photos from the scene at Holy Cross Catholic Church and Calvary Baptist Church.

LAS CRUCES && GT; & GT; Surges about a half hour apart shattered the peacefulness of early morning services at 2 Las Cruces churches Sunday, however triggered no injuries and just minor damage, cops said.

The explosions took place at Calvary Baptist Church, 1800 S. Locust, quickly after 8 a.m. and Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1327 N. Miranda, about a half hour later. The surge at Holy Cross occurred in a trash can just outside the entryway of the church as services for the 8 a.m. Mass were taking place.

Robin Zielinski — Sun-News Holy Cross Catholic Church pastoral associate Elizabeth Behnke informs parishioners of ride arrangements and that their

Robin Zielinski-- Sun-News Holy Cross Catholic Church pastoral associate Elizabeth Behnke informs parishioners of ride arrangements and that their automobiles should be left at the church till the parking area is browsed on Sunday.

Monsignor John Anderson had actually remained in the part of the service where communion is passed.

"I was right in the middle of saying the words 'take and consume, this is my body' and there was a Pow! I mean, I knew it had to be more than a gunshot," he said. "It didn't understand if it was a shotgun blast, I didn't understand exactly what. However it was extremely loud and I just kept on saying the words."

Ann Marie Sullivan, a college student and long-lasting parishioner at Holy Cross, explained it. "It sounded like something had actually fallen off and smashed the glass in the back."

At the end of the Lord's Prayer, the pastor sent out a deacon to learn what had happened, and it was reported that a bomb had exploded in a garbage can outside the front glass doors, smashing the thick glass.

Ad

"I had actually just gotten communion and had returned to my chair when the cops turned up and said we require everyone to leave out the doors calmly," Sullivan said, saying authorities told parishioners. "We have it under control but we need you to leave the structure."

Ten minutes later on, and it could have been much worse, Anderson stated.

Robin Zielinski — Sun-News Aaliyah Doninguez, 11, stands on North Alameda Boulevard advising parishioners of Holy Cross Catholic Church that Mass is

Robin Zielinski-- Sun-News Aaliyah Doninguez, 11, stands on North Alameda Boulevard recommending parishioners of Holy Cross Catholic Church that Mass is canceled on Sunday.

"I'm just happy to God no one was standing by the door, due to the fact that there's typically always someone standing there. However because it was the consecration part of the Mass, everyone was kneeling down and facing toward the altar," he said. "10 minutes later on we would have been leaving and standing around that area."

At an interview Sunday night, Gov. Susana Martinez said that only a "coward" would position an explosive device in a church. She vowed that the person accountable would be caught, and prompted people to continue to attend church services.

"Whoever did this will certainly feel the full pressure of the law," she stated. "If your intention was to bring fear to those who worship, you have actually failed."

Robin Zielinski — Sun-News Las Cruces Police Officer Joseph Campa talks to Holy Cross Catholic Church parishioners on Sunday after an explosion

Robin Zielinski-- Sun-News Las Cruces Law enforcement agent Joseph Campa talks with Holy Cross Catholic Church parishioners on Sunday after a surge took place at the entrance of the church during Mass.

. State Cops Chief Pete Kassetas stated the acts were definitely intended to intimidate churchgoers, however he might not call it an act of terrorism at this time, or even confirm for certain that the 2 surges were related.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad, New Mexico State Police, and an NMSU canine system are all aiding in the investigation, as are federal officials with the FBI, ATF and Department of Homeland Security, Las Cruces Police spokesman Dan Trujillo said.

The earlier explosion at Calvary Baptist Church took place in a mailbox on a wall near the administrative entrance to the church, Trujillo stated. A number of worshippers were gathering inside the church when the surge happened, however services had actually not yet started.

Jett Loe — Sun-News Las Cruces police block portions of Locust Street in response to an explosion Sunday morning near Calvary Baptist Church.

Jett Loe-- Sun-News Las Cruces police block parts of Locust Street in response to a surge Sunday early morning near Calvary Baptist Church.

"It was a genuine bomb, I saw all the parts," stated Cavalry Baptist member Dennis Llewellyn, who said he was outside the church when the explosive went off. Llewellyn stated he was a previous special forces member with the Militaries and acknowledged bomb parts that consisted of an Eveready battery. He and fellow church member Mike Stewart kept churchgoers arriving for the 8:30 a.m. service from going into the structure during the five to 10 minutes it considered authorities to show up. Stewart was the one to notice the debris and harmed mailbox, the two men said.

Llewellyn described the explosion as loud, and Stewart, who was within, stated it shook the structure. Llewellyn said there were about 30 people inside the building when the surge occurred.

Kassetas stated they were not releasing information on the kind of explosive gadget utilized while the examination is ongoing, however said they "were not fireworks"

"These devices were intended, I think, to do damage and might have done damage to people."

Trujillo stated had no information yet regarding possible intentions, but police assume the 2 blasts are related.

"Just the fact that they were at churches the very same day a half and hour apart approximately, that leads us to think it could be something related," he stated.

"Somebody desired attention, and someone wanted to be really destructive versus the Catholics, I guess," Monsignor John Anderson stated. "I don't know how else to check out that."

"We'll well need to increase the security and have people in the car park all the time and have electronic cameras in that celebration location to see who is there at all times. So, well need to be more watchful."

Trujillo said cops were been contacted by other churches in town asking what they must do.

"We can't tell them exactly what to do, but we can tell them to be on the lookout for anything suspicious," he stated. "Don't go poking around in wastebasket or mail boxes. If you have any suspicion of anything that's out of the normal, kindly call to police and leave it as much as the officers to look it over."

During a rally Sunday night at Pioneer Park, faith leaders from throughout the community required forgiveness and a more powerful sense of community. A message was checked out from Bishop Oscar CantĂș where he expressed thanks that nobody was hurt, and vowed the church services would continue, however with more vigilance.

Sun-News staff members Robin Zielinski, Jett Loe, Lucas Peerman and Sylvia Ulloa contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *