Man disrupts Mosque prayer ritual, brings gun inside
BATON ROUGE - A man is in custody Friday after entering a Mosque in Baton Rouge waving a gun, sending people in to a panic.
He didn't fire the gun, but many members thought he was going to shoot when he entered the Islamic Center, on East Airport Avenue. Police said he may have a mental illness.
People were gathered to pray when the man entered the Mosque. The Director of Islamic Center, Emad Nofal, told News Two members thought their lives were about to end.
"One of our members, he said to me, I felt like I'm going to die, in that moment. He saw a man, with a gun, in his face." Nofal said. "A couple of guys, even an old man 84-years-old, had to leave his chair and try to run to a safe place. It was chaos."
The suspect, was not a stranger to Nofal. He said the man had been praying at the Mosque for a few months before the incident.
"We'd had some problems with him, but we tolerated it because this is a place of worship. We didn't want to rush to say, hey you're not welcome here." Nofal explained.
A lot of panic and fear filled the place of worship. But Nofal told News Two he did not think the man truly meant any harm, but was just trying to show off. By the time police got to the scene, the gunman was gone. Investigators are now reporting they caught the man, and he is now in custody. Baton Rouge police is still investigating the case.
Police have not released the suspect's name and has not charged him with anything yet. He's currently being evaluated at a mental hospital.