(UnitedVoice.com) – Recent statistics show an increase in attacks against religious institutions across the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a panel to deal with the rising religious crimes. Two more were committed recently that might have a connection.
On February 19, a passerby found a suspicious object behind the St. Dominic Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They alerted police, who discovered an 18-inch pipe bomb in a graveyard near a set of train tracks. Roads around the church were closed while officers were on the scene. The bomb squad removed the explosive, which was made from PVC pipe filled with a black powder and capped on both ends.
According to the Catholic News Agency, the Philadelphia Police didn’t reveal whether they believed the church was the target of a religious attack.
The discovery of the pipe bomb came one day after a Roman Catholic bishop was murdered in his Hacienda Heights, California, home. The New York Times reported police found David O’Connell, 69, an Archdiocese of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, dead in his home on Saturday afternoon after he missed a meeting. He suffered at least one gunshot wound to his upper body, and there wasn’t any evidence of a forced entry to his home.
The bishop was known for working with rival gangs and as a peacemaker of sorts in his community. The day after the killing, law enforcement arrested Carlos Medina, 65. The suspect is married to the bishop’s housekeeper. According to The New York Times, Sheriff Robert G. Luna said law enforcement received a tip that Medina was “acting strange, irrational and made comments about the bishop owing money.”
Sheriff Luna told the press Medina had been at the bishop’s home in the past. He stressed authorities were not implying the murder had anything to do with money. In fact, he wasn’t sure what kind of relationship the two men had.
The investigations in Philadelphia and Los Angeles are ongoing.
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