Police: Man attacked Tulsa cathedral attendant with sword, tried to set building on fire

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff


Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa. / rawf8/Shutterstock.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 5, 2022 / 21:30 pm (CNA).

Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, arrested a man Wednesday after he allegedly attacked a desk attendant with a sword and started a fire at Holy Family Cathedral.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin tweeted the following statement at 9:14 p.m. Wednesday:

“TPD officers responded to a downtown church building at approximately 4 p.m. after a man attacked an employee of the building with a sword, lit incendiary devices, and attempted to set the building ablaze. There were children at the location, all of which were unharmed. We apprehended the man a short time later at 71st & Sheridan after he caused a disturbance in a store by threatening to detonate a device. This is still an active investigation that involves TPD, our Bomb Squad, Tulsa Fire Marshals, and federal authorities. We are working with our federal partners on charges and will share more information as information becomes available.”

The rector of the cathedral, Father Gary Kastl, identified the desk attendant as Ron Notzon, Tulsa television station KTUL reported. Kastl said Notzon confronted the suspect and received lacerations on his hands.

Kastl related that a man carrying an ice chest approached the front of the cathedral and attempted to enter. After realizing the doors were locked, he proceeded down the alley between the school and the cathedral, according to Kastl.

“During this time, students were on the front steps of the Cathedral taking school pictures. We express our gratitude and appreciation for the faculty and staff who reacted quickly and immediately moved the students inside the school. The whole school was immediately placed on lockdown and remained so until cleared by local law enforcement,” Kastl wrote in a letter about the incident.

It appears that the suspect lit an object on fire and threw it into the side of the cathedral, causing damage to some windows, according to Kastl.

The suspect was arrested around 5:30 p.m., about an hour and a half after the incident, Kastl wrote.

Kastl said the church will offer a Mass for Notzon’s healing at 9 a.m. Thursday and will have priests, deacons, and counselors available after Mass at 11:30 a.m.

“We invite the community to come, pray, and heal with us,” Kastl said, according to the WTUL report.

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