Riverside Police Department Press Release

For Immediate Release

Date Friday, December 29, 2006
Contact Leon Phillips, Sergeant
Phone (951) 826-5900

Church Workers Confronted by a Man with a Gun

Riverside, Ca- On Thursday, December 21, 2006, the Riverside Police Communications Center received a call of a man with a gun at the Mt. Rubidoux Seventh-Day Adventist Church located in the on Victoria Avenue, north of Central Avenue. Officers responded within minutes but were unable to locate the gunman who had fled by the time the officers arrived.

Workers at the church reported that at about 12:30 PM, a man came to the door of the church soliciting the sale of small Christmas items he had in a backpack. The workers declined to make any purchases from the man. When he began to return the items to the backpack, he pulled out a gun and began to raise it. The employee at the door screamed and ran into the interior of the building as the man walked through the door and into a hallway. The man was last seen walking through the building.

The workers activated an alarm and called the police. Upon arrival, the officers located the workers and escorted them from the building. Their arrival was very quick and they believed the suspect was still inside of the church building although they did not know his specific location. They secured the facility by surrounding it and called for a SWAT team to conduct a thorough search of the premises. The SWAT team finished their search about 3:15 PM, without locating the suspect.

The church workers did not know the man they described as a Hispanic male in his 20’s. At the time, he was unshaven and wore a red and white “Santa” hat. He was approximately 5’6” in height and weighed about 170 lbs. No shots were fired and no one was injured during the incident although one female worker at the church was taken to the hospital because of concerns over her pregnancy. She was treated and released.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or the identification of the suspect is urged to call the Riverside Police Department at the East Neighborhood Policing Center 951-351-6059.