Fists flew inside a church in Lakewood, Washington last weekend as a confrontation on the altar turned physical.
In a video that has since gone viral, a man can be seen disrupting the mass and approaching the altar, before the priest backs off as other churchgoers come to his defense. From there, a few fists fly as parishioners join forces to drag the man off the altar and out of the church.
Local station KIRO reports the man was served a notice of trespass earlier in the month, and was told he’d be arrested if he decided to return.
“The events leading up to this unfortunate incident began last month,” Father Paul Brunet wrote in a letter addressing the incident. “After an initial pastoral appointment with (name redacted), his behavior has worsened and become less predictable. He has engaged in a course of abusive and threatening conduct, directed not just at me but towards the parish and school staff.”
Brunet continued, “Under the circumstances, the parish and school had no other choice but to obtain a ‘No Trespass’ order from the Lakewood Police Department against (name redacted). He chose to disregard this order when he appeared at Mass yesterday.”
Brunet went on to say that the church will be working with police and a security company to ensure the safety of parishioners going forward.
“The safety of the children, parishioners and staff are our top priority,” Brunet added. “The parish and school are working closely with the Lakewood Police department, the Lakewood City Attorney and private security to maintain extra safety precautions. Please join me in praying for all who were involved in or witnessed this incident and be assured of my prayers for all of you.”