Looking into church security after Catholic priest attacked - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Looking into church security after Catholic priest attacked

Rocky River Police are looking for this suspect, who they say assaulted a priest. (Source: Rocky River Police) Rocky River Police are looking for this suspect, who they say assaulted a priest. (Source: Rocky River Police)
Police warn local clergy to watch out for their safety after a priest was attacked. (Source: WOIO) Police warn local clergy to watch out for their safety after a priest was attacked. (Source: WOIO)
ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) -

People in Rocky River were shocked to learn a local priest was assaulted at gunpoint while in the parish confessional.

It happened at Saint Christopher Catholic church. Two weeks later, police are still looking for the suspect.

Cleveland 19 News wanted to know if it is bringing about any security changes at other churches.

The Catholic Diocese has not released any details on extra security after the attack.

We found it's often up to each church to decide how much security they think they need.

Parishioners across the area have their guard up.

“A priest being attacked right around the corner where I live is kind of disturbing,” said Joseph Dwyer.

We checked with several police departments in cities surrounding Rocky River.

North Olmsted Police say off duty police officers are sometimes requested by Catholic churches to help with parking on holidays, but otherwise they don't provide security.

They say no churches have requested extra security since the attack.

Cleveland 19 News noticed one church out of a handful of Catholic churches from Lakewood to Cleveland had security cameras mounted on its property.

Joseph Dwyer goes to St. James Catholic Church on Detroit Ave.

“A church is a safe place, a place of refuge from the actual world,” he said.

He says he keeps thinking of the suspect's sketch.

“This guy had a cross tattooed on his arms, not something that just happens. You have to go and have it done. And you kind of wonder, where was the disconnect between having that put on his arm and what he did,” Dwyer said.  

Police say at least two dozen leads came in this weekend, but they're still looking for the suspect.

Police say he is a white male in his late 20s with pale skin and black, shoulder length hair.

He also has a nose ring and a cross tattoo on the inside of his left forearm.

If you have any information, call Rocky River Police.

Police are asking clergy in the Cleveland area to watch out for anyone matching the suspect's description and to be on extra alert for their safety.

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