Lawrence Capener, the suspect in the New Mexico church stabbing, may have been yelling that the music choir leader was a “fake preacher” according to CNN on Monday morning, but by that evening he had disclosed to police that he believed Adam Alvarez was a Free Mason member and that he was involved in a conspiracy, according to ABC News.
While an earlier news report said Capener was not a member of the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque, it was revealed later in the day today that his mother was a very active member, serving as a Eucharistic minister there and that her son was sometimes in attendance.
Mental health issues were also listed as a possible reason for the knife attack on the choir leader as well as three other individuals, who tried to come to the aid of the victim and subdue the attacker.
I think he has been struggling for a while, maybe with some (mental) health issues,” the church’s pastor, Rev. John Daniel, said.
According to Albuquerque Police Department Officer Tasia Martinez, off duty public safety personnel were in attendance during the service and rushed to the aid of the four men wounded in the sudden slashings.
Those four off-duty public safety officials include FBI Special Agent Charles Metzler Jr., 53, Department of Correction Sgt. Gilbert Flores, 53, and Rio Rancho Police Officer Chris Maestas, 34, as well as Albuquerque Police Officer Daren DeAguero, who was the one to detain the suspect in handcuffs after the attacks.
The three victims in the knife attack in addition to the choir director include Michael Tungate, 37, off-duty Albuquerque Fire Department Lt. Greg Argon, 43, and Gerald Madrid, 53, who sustained five knife wounds to his back after trying to get the suspect in a bear hug to prevent further harm to others.
The suspect was also injured during the fight with the knife, but he was treated and released from the hospital before being taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center where he was charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He is being held on $75,000 cash or surety bond.
According to his statements to medical personnel while he was being treated, he appears to have been delusional prior to and during the church attack, and that event was first preceded by an act of vandalism on a Masonic Lodge located on Barbara Loop. In fact, he still had spray paint on his hands from that effort when police arrested him.
Officer Martinez reports that the 24-year-old told members of the hospital staff the following:
The Freemasons tapped into the radio waves of the church’s microphones to send out their message.” And Capener also said that “the devil was sending a message through the microphone whenever Alvarez sang or spoke.”
The suspect said that he had been attending church at St. Jude for three months and that on Sunday he had “had enough,” and had to respond.
Lawrence Capener isn’t the first male to attack members of the clergy after imagining voices, he has been preceded by others such as serial killer Herbert William Mullen, who took the lives of 11 people in the 70s, including a Catholic Priest of the Los Gatos Church, who was in his confessional booth at the time.
Mullen confessed to killing 13 people, but he was only convicted of killing 11. He sought parole when he became eligible, but the California Board of Prisons refused his request, in spite of his proclamations that he wanted to find a wife and audit a psychology course at UC Santa Cruz.
Lawrence Capener is said to have just completed his studies at a community college and adjusted well after getting a job. That appears to have been an incorrect assessment following the terrible events on Sunday at the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, unfortunately.
© 2013 Radell Smith
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Radell Smith holds a degree in criminal justice and behavior forensics. She has successful experience in profiling unsolved homicide and serial offender cases. You can reach her at TheRealRadellSmith@hotmail.com
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