JPSO: Priest beaten with crowbar in attempted robbery
POSTED: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 8:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 8:04pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDSU-CNN) — Deputies are on the hunt for two men they said attacked a priest at a Metairie Church.
Jefferson Parish said they hit the victim with a crowbar at St. Clement of Rome Church in the 4300 block of Richard Avenue just before 11:00 p.m. Sunday.
Officials said the attackers wanted money.
"It was scary too, really scary. I thought he was dead," said Kevin Daigle.
Daigle, a parishioner of the church, was there Sunday night when Father Peter Finney was attacked by two armed men who entered the parish center around 10:20 p.m. and demanded money from a safe.
"We just finished 6 o'clock Mass and he went off and he goes into his office to work and two guys came into the parish center and they tracked him down and hit him with a bar (on) his whole shoulder right here," said Daigle.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said one man was armed with a crowbar, the other a pistol. When Finney couldn't open the safe after several attempts, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said Finney made a run for it, running next door to the church rectory, alerting the pastor who contacted authorities -- this as the attackers took off.
"I think it's terrible that people don't even respect the clergy anymore," said Denise Balint.
Investigators returned to the scene of the crime Monday looking for clues as the faithful turned their attention to a higher power.
"Our priests need our prayers, you know. It's hard times and it's hard times for them also. and they're trying to guide our flock also. Tthey need our prayers," said Balint.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans said the church is a very safe place and that it's reviewing procedures to make certain that what happened Sunday night is less likely to happy again.
He said nothing was taken from the parish center.
Authorities described the robber with the crowbar as standing 6 feet tall, weighing about 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt,with a bandanna over his face. The robber armed with the gun was described as standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds. He was also last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, with a bandanna over his face.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.