Police in Philadelphia is investigating after a live stream video of Sunday Mass at a catholic church captured a woman punching a church reader twice in the face. The incident occurred during the 11 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on 1723 Race Street, NBC10 reported.
During the Facebook Live video of the Mass, about 32 minutes in, a woman can be seen punching the church reader twice in the face after the victim was walking away from the altar area. The suspect, who remains unidentified, then walked away.
The entire video is available here. As mentioned, the moment in question begins just after 32 minutes. A short clip of the incident is available below via CBS Philly:
The Archbishop Said the Victim Received Immediate Help & Is Doing Well
During the video, the suspect can be seen hitting the lector twice in the face as the victim walks away from the altar. The church reader then continues walking as the suspect walks away in a different direction. It’s also possible to hear people in the crowd reacting to the incident through the organ music.
Archbishop Nelson Perez addressed the incident and said that the lector, whose name was not provided, received treatment immediately after the incident and is “doing well.” In a statement posted to Facebook, Perez wrote that during Mass, “a senseless act of aggression took place. One of the lectors was punched by someone in the congregation as she left the altar.” He continued:
Such behavior is unacceptable at all times, especially within the confines of a church building and during the celebration of the Holy Mass. I was saddened to learn of this incident and regret that it took place. The lector who was assaulted received immediate attention and assistance from Cathedral staff members off camera. She did not require medical attention and is doing well based on the reports I have received.
The Philadelphia Police Said an Investigation Is Ongoing But No Arrest Has Been Made at This Time
Perez said they are working and cooperating with the Philadelphia police. Reverend Dennis Gill of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul told ABC6 the authorities were contacted right away. According to reports, there is not yet a clear indication as to what caused the attack.
Heavy reached out to the Philadelphia police department, who said, “A 40 year old white female victim was exiting the sanctuary area when she was struck in the face (2) times by an unknown Black female. The Black female offender exited the church.”
Police described the suspect as a “Black female, 5’8″, heavy build.” She was wearing a green track suit and a face mask at the time of the incident. ABC6 reported that the suspect has attended that church before but she is not believed to be a parishioner.
CBS later reported that the suspect was identified by the police but they will not be pressing charges. Reporter Joe Holden with CBS3 posted on Twitter: “But it was announced tonight charges wouldn’t be pressed, sources say, because the woman is not mentally fit to face prosecution.”