Man opens "fire" in church
SALEM, Ore. - A man ranting about "the blood" burst into a church sanctuary during a service, sloshed fuel onto people and started a fire, police and church officials said Thursday.
Some parishioners were able to smother the flames with their coats while another group tackled the man, said the Rev. Scott Erickson, pastor of the Peoples Church. Two older women from the congregation were burned when their clothing caught fire.
"He ... was yelling things about the blood, and then he began to sprinkle the fluid and light it," Erickson said. "He was making slurs about things that are most precious to us."
On Thursday, prosecutors said Kam Shing Chan, also known as Daniel Chan, 53, was held on charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted assault, arson and reckless burning. Prosecutors, who did not suggest a motive, said the Salem man was to appear in court Friday.
Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Rau said the man was also suspected of hijacking a cab to get there. The cabdriver had been threatened with a knife and had a slight neck wound, authorities said.
About 300 people were in the church, said the Rev. Sam Miller, who was conducting the service Wednesday night. No one in the church had ever seen the man before, he said.
One injured woman's hair and back caught fire, and she had to be rolled on the carpet to get the flames out, Erickson said. Salem Hospital reported she was treated in the emergency room and released.
The flames burned another woman's dress but was quickly extinguished, Erickson said.
"This is all very upsetting," he said. "This won't deter us from having services. We'll go on, and we can assure everyone that they are safe here."
The Peoples Church was closed Thursday as the sheriff's department investigated what it called vandalism and arson, Erickson said. He said the Pentecostal church, a member of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, would be open for Sunday services.
This wasn't the first time this guy went nuts.
They should have kept him locked up the 1st time, after he killed his own daughter.
So much for the idea of the "correctional system."