4 Stabbed At Church In New Mexico: What Did Lawrence Capener Say When He Attacked Choir?

By Staff Reporter on April 29, 2013 10:25 AM EDT

St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church
5 victims were stabbed at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in New Mexico. Authorities have not identified the motive of suspect Lawrence Capener. (Photo: Facebook)

Four were stabbed in an Albuquerque, New Mexico, church when a deranged man charged at chorus members in mid-song during Sunday afternoon church service, reported USA Today. Authorities later confirmed there were five stabbed victims in total.

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The suspect charged with the stabbing is 24-year-old Lawrence Capener. According to witnesses, Capener jumped over church pews as he charged at the choir group, screaming "fake preacher" and swinging a knife. The church-goers of St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church say Capener was not a member of their parish.

"I looked up and I saw a young man with a very scary look in his eyes-fury, anger, hatred," said choir member Brenda Baca King. "He had a knife and was attacking our soloist, and our flutist tried to protect him and got stabbed also."

52-year-old Gerald Madrid is the choir flutist of the church. Madrid survived multiple stabs in the back.

"I just instinctively dropped my flute and charged the guy and I got him into a bear hug and pinned him against the wall but he was much taller than I am," recalled Madrid. "I think he was trying to stab me more, but this time I was taking him down."

"[He] was kind of twitchy, sketchy looking. He had a tattoo of an upside-down star on his wrist," told 14-year-old Vanessa Lucero to the LA Times.

Thankfully, members of the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church managed to take down Lawrence Capener before authorities arrived to the scene. Gerald Madrid and one other victim are classified as critically injured. Three victims are classified as in stable condition after receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Lawrence Capener was arrested on Sunday and is charged with aggravated battery. The motive for the attack is still unknown, said Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson Tasia Martinez.

A shocking incident, Archbishop Michael Sheehan said the church never encountered such an attack during his 30-year career.

"I pray for all who have been harmed, their families, the parishioners and that nothing like this will ever happen again," said Sheehan.

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