In this day and age, institutions tend to take any threat of violence seriously, because the risk of shrugging off the information as inconsequential and being wrong is simply too high.
That's why Saint John's Episcopal Church closed for days this week, following an alleged pledge by sixty-year-old Dominique Richard to kill priests and bishops, plus a woman he'd known for decades.
Photos, video and the strange details below.
According to 7News, Richard has a police record, albeit one that involves perviness, not assaults or homicides. He reportedly received a ten-day suspended jail sentence in 2003 for public indecency, and was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, the same offense in 2009.
He came to police attention again after a Tuesday phone conversation with a woman featured prominently in a police report accessed by 9News. She's said to have known Richard since 1975 and was once tasked with dispensing his Social Security payments.
The affidavit maintains that Richard called the woman twice, with the first attempt at outreach winding up on voicemail and the second leading to a conversation in which he's quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter. I'm going to get a gun and come kill you, and I'm killing any priest and bishop from the Episcopal Church. And I'm going to desecrate the altar at Saint Andrew's."
The only connection 7News could discover between Saint Andrew's and Richard is that he attended masses there a decade or so ago -- at which time one staffer remembers him occasionally wearing "inappropriate" clothing.
The woman subsequently alerted police, who contacted the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, leading to a decision to shut down until the matter was resolved. Here's a statement issued by the diocese:
Based on security concerns, the Office of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado made the difficult decision today to close its offices and advise staff to stay home, out of an abundance of caution for the safety of its staff and the general public.
The Bishop's office has been cooperating with the Denver Police Department and, pursuant to its request, is referring all media inquiries to the Police Department.
The Bishop has also been in conversation with the clergy and staff at Saint John's Cathedral, whose campus the Bishop's office shares. The Cathedral is also closed today and has canceled all services and activities until further notice, based on the same concern about security. On Tuesday night, the Office of the Bishop notified diocesan clergy and advised them to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions at churches, particularly in the Denver metro area.
"Unfortunately, these situations do occasionally arise, and we feel a responsibility to take necessary measures to keep our staff and the public safe," said Larry Hitt, Chancellor for the Diocese of Colorado. "All those involved are in our prayers, and we will work to return to business as usual as soon as possible."
During this closure, the Office of the Bishop and Saint John's Cathedral are working to put appropriate security measures and personnel in place, again, out of an abundance of caution.
Beckett Stokes Director of Communications The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado
As for Richard, he was taken into custody without incident at midnight Thursday and booked into Denver jail on investigation of menacing. His bond was fairly modest: $1,000.
Saint Andrew's has remained open throughout the week, but Saint John's Cathedral remained closed even after Richard was cuffed. However, Sunday services are expected to move forward as usual.
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More from our News archive circa July: "Chris Craig, ex-college basketball coach, ID'd as man threatening Catholics, Mormons."