A sick and twisted prank caller sent mourners of the Newtown, Ct., school massacre running for their lives on Sunday, after St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church congregants were told that they had to evacuate the premises because a man had called and said he was “coming to kill” and “shoot up the place,” reports Yahoo! News.
Chaos and terror was widespread as the parishioners and well-wishers quickly scattered away as heavily armed police directed traffic outside of the church’s grounds.
According to a church spokesperson, an unidentified male called the church rectory and threatened to “kill everyone.” The twisted caller went on to state, “My friend didn’t finish the job.” Police were notified immediately after a church rectory personnel received the disturbing call. Law enforcement advised church officials that the threat was credible enough to evacuate those attending the noon mass as quickly as possible.
According to Yahoo! News, at approximately 12:39 p.m., the mass was interrupted by Monsignor Robert Weiss who informed the some 500 parishioners that there was a threat and they had to evacuate the premises in an orderly manner. “Children were coming out just crying and holding each other. They were scared,” said a woman who spoke to the New York Post and who gave her name only as Kim.
There were also about 30 children in an adjacent building who were rehearsing a Christmas play and who also had to evacuate the building quickly.
Reportedly, the church was quickly surrounded by not only the heavily armed police but also by SWAT teams who guarded the area with weapons drawn.
Police and SWAT teams formed a perimeter around the church and adjacent buildings. Reporters, who were not allowed to attend the mass, were camped across the street from the church.
At least 10 of the 20 children who were killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre on Friday at the hands of shooter Adam Lanza were members of St. Rose. Eight of the children’s funerals are scheduled to take place at the church.
Sunday’s threat is the second one that the church has received since the brutal killings took place. One day after the killings, the church had a display of posters where mourners could express their heartfelt sentiments about what had occurred. Someone wrote on one of the posters, “This is just round one,” according to one of the church’s pastors. St. Rose was forced to cancel all planned activities on Saturday and lock its doors.