CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — One man has died after he and three others were stabbed during a church service at a private home in Texas, police said Thursday.
As many as 20 people were in the home Wednesday night when an apparent member of the congregation pulled a knife and stabbed four men, according to Corpus Christi police Lt. Chris Hooper.
He said a 61-year-old man later died of his injuries, while the church's 54-year-old pastor was hospitalized in serious condition. The Nueces County medical examiner's office identified the dead man as Frank Castillo.
Hooper declined to identify the victims on Thursday. But police said late Wednesday that a band member was stabbed in the neck and the pastor was stabbed in the chest, and both were taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police said the other two victims suffered puncture wounds — one to his hand and the other to his arm — while trying to get the suspect away from the pastor.
The suspect, 28-year-old Marco Antonio Moreno, immediately surrendered to congregants after the stabbing, Hooper said. Moreno was being held at the Nueces County jail on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Jail records didn't indicate whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
"The officers at the scene suspect there is a mental health issue with the offender," said Hooper, who noted that Moreno has an "alcohol- and drug-related history" with police.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported late Wednesday that the incident occurred about 7 p.m. at a nondenominational service held by Kingdom Acts Ministries International. Police in the Gulf Coast city were called to the home and found the pastor stabbed in the chest. Police Lt. Jay Clement told the newspaper it wasn't clear what led to the attack.
Those attending services at the home had been gathering there each day as part of a "40-day pledge," Clement said, adding that witnesses said the suspect was a parishioner.
In November, a gunman fatally shot more than two dozen worshippers at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, before dying of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators have said that attack appeared to stem from a domestic dispute.