Sadly, the Catholic parish of Queen of Peace in Ocala, Florida, isn’t like most Catholic parishes. This parish regularly celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass, the core of which goes back to the 4th century.
But what makes this particular parish stand out today is that a man with a criminal record just today drove his vehicle through the church’s front doors, the proceeded to pour gasoline out onto the vestibule, then set the church alight.
In the church as the time were a number of parishioners preparing for morning Mass. None were reported as injured.
As reported by the official Marion County (Fla) Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook account;
However, the Orlando Sentinel is also reporting that Shields doused the church with an undisclosed amount of gas before setting the church on fire.
The paper is also citing that Shields is also facing the following charges;
- Attempted second-degree murder
- First-degree arson
- Burglary with assault
- Eluding law enforcement
Coming as a surprise to no one, Shields already has quite the violent criminal past.
Ocala-News.com noted late last year;
A Dunnellon [Florida] man found himself behind bars late Sunday night after a woman claimed he wanted to murder her.
The victim told Marion County sheriff’s deputies that 23-year-old Steven Anthony Shields allegedly had swung a crowbar at her twice before telling her to lie on the ground so he could hit her on the head and kill her. She said she fled from their Dunnellon home and went to a neighbor’s house to call for help.
Deputies then spoke with Shields in the front yard of the residence. He claimed that he did want to murder the victim with a crowbar but denied swinging it at her, a sheriff’s office report says.
After being read his rights, Shields allegedly said he wanted to “kill her because she was a ‘stupid (expletive deleted).’” He also claimed he wanted to use the crowbar because he did not want to “dirty his blades,” the report says.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department website, Shields was released during March of 2020, CTS (Cleared with Time Served).