An assault at a San Francisco Catholic church on Sunday led to a police pursuit that reportedly included the possible use of a pipe bomb.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA), a local police union, said on X, previously known as Twitter, on Sunday evening that there had been an “assault at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in North Beach.”
“Responding officers encountered a suspect with an improvised device,” the SFPOA said. “A pursuit occurred.” The suspect was subsequently “apprehended by [the San Francisco Police Department] in another county.”
Archdiocesan spokesman Peter Marlow told CNA on Monday that the incident began after an individual received Communion but did not consume the host.
“It was a person that went up to receive Communion at the 5 p.m Mass and then didn’t consume the consecrated host,” Marlow said. “He left without consuming.”
“There was a visiting person [also in attendance] who stood up and confronted the person and told him, ‘You can’t leave the church without consuming the host,’” Marlow said. “And the guy went off and punched him and ran out of the church.”
“The gentleman who got punched, I was told, was not in serious condition,” Marlow added. “He just took a punch and was treated by the paramedics.”
It was unclear what happened to the Host.
City Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Standard that police said the man “set off a pipe bomb” during the pursuit incident before subsequently igniting a “Molotov cocktail.” There were no serious injuries, Peskin told the outlet.
The SFPOA included in its X post a photograph of an “improvised device” said to have ignited on a city sidewalk or street.
PRELIMINARY REPORT: Assault at Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach. Responding officers encountered a suspect with an improvised device. A pursuit occurred. Suspect apprehended by SFPD in another county. If you are a witness or have video, contact SFPD at 415-575-4444. pic.twitter.com/POzUsftpwW
— San Francisco POA (@SanFranciscoPOA) October 30, 2023
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department could not be reached for comment.
The present church structure on Filbert Street was constructed in 1924 after the 1906 earthquake destroyed the original structure, according to the parish’s website.