Man attacked church choir during closing hymns

Posted at: 04/28/2013 11:25 PM
Updated at: 04/29/2013 12:14 PM
By: Gadi Schwartz, KOB Eyewitness News 4

As the closing hymns at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Albuquerque started Lawrence Capener rushed the alter and attacked the choir.

"He was not in his right mind,” St. Jude Father John Daniel said.

Police and witnesses say shortly before the end of the 11 a.m. mass Capener, 24, stood up in front of the congregation and headed directly toward the choir director as the choir was singing their closing hymn.

"He brought his hand up and just started stabbing him and stabbing him," described Valerie Schalow who had been sitting close to Capener during the service.

Witnesses say as soon as Capener began attacking the choir director Adam Alvarez, several men jumped into action and began fighting with Capener until he was subdued.

In the process three other parishioners suffered stab wounds.

The people stabbed are at area hospitals with non life threatening injuries.

Schalow says her husband knew something was off when earlier in the mass he shook Capeners hand during a prayer.

"His hands were so clammy and yet because we do the peace," she said. "And so his hands were so clammy that when my kids had to go to the bathroom my husband washed his hands and I couldn't understand why he went but later on he told me his hands so wet and clammy. He said he knew something was wrong with this guy."

Witnesses say Capener was yelling about false priests and the masons and began screaming for his mom as he was held down by parishioners.

Father Daniel tells KOB Capener's mother is a Eucharist minister who was at the church when the attack happened.

"Be thankful that nobody lost their lives and pray not only for the victims but also for the assailant and his family,” he said.