A California woman is in custody in San Diego County after being accused of walking into a church service on Easter Sunday with her baby and a gun in hand.
Police have identified 31-year-old Anna Conkey as the Navy veteran who is said to have shown up at Church Tsidkenu on Sunday morning where she began making threats to the congregation. According to KNSD, she was waving a handgun around while standing on the stage of the Mount Everest Academy auditorium where the service was held when the church’s head pastor, Benjamin Wisan, instructed parishioners to leave.
“She seemed extremely agitated, extremely frustrated, and not in her right mind,” Wisan told the San Diego station. “I got her attention, we were having a conversation. I started stepping towards her and she started kind of cussing a little bit and shouting and saying get away from me.”
KNSD reports that Wisan knew who Conkey was, and said that she had to be escorted out of church the previous week for an unrelated incident. His main focus on Sunday, however, was making sure that her 10-month-old son was unharmed. Luckily, other parishioners, including a current member of the Navy, David Michael Miller, were able to ensure that happened.
“I was slowly approaching, watching [parishioners] talk her down,” Miller said. “She was being very apprehensive, pointing the gun at them, pointing the gun at her baby saying, ‘Don't come any closer.’”
Eventually, Miller and three others were able to retrieve both the baby and the gun from Conkey before tackling and pinning her down while waiting for police to arrive. However, KNSD reports that police were already on their way after Conkey, who was a former intern and freelance digital producer for the network, sent a news tip to the outlet via email.
“There’s a woman claiming to be the Messiah, saying she was sent to blow up the foundation of the Church — she’s got a gun and a child is involved. The address is 4350 Mount Everest Blvd San Diego, CA 92117,” Conkey’s email read. “There are about 70 people in the auditorium of the school where the church service is held.”
Although Conkey didn’t identify herself as the suspect, police confirmed to KNSD that she was arrested and faces charges including making criminal threats and displaying a handgun in a threatening manner, while her 10-month-old was taken into protective custody, along with her 5-year-old who was at another location at the time of the incident. As of Monday afternoon, Conkey remains in custody.
Wisan and members of the congregation are now taking the time to pray for Conkey in a service set for Monday night.
“I couldn't be more proud of each of the sons and daughters in the church, if there was fear you couldn't see it and if any is trying to remain on anyone, IT'S GONE NOW IN JESUS NAME!!” Wisan wrote in a Facebook post. “There was so much boldness, compassion and real Faith!”
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