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Virginia Man Indicted in ‘Diabolical Plot to Kill Churchgoers’ Cited Deteriorating Mental Health

A federal grand jury indicted 35-year-old Rui Jiang on Wednesday on charges he tried to carry out a shooting at a Virginia church, authorities announced.

Jiang attempted to shoot the Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia, after posting threats and violent content online against the church and God, according to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Jiang now faces charges of attempting to obstruct the free exercise of church congregants’ religious beliefs. He is also being charged with use of a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the indictment.

If a judge convicts Jiang on all counts, he could face life in prison, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jiang was arrested at the Park Valley Church during a Sunday morning service last September, according to a press release from the Fairfax County Police Department. Police said a concerned citizen alerted them that Jiang had posted several threats against the church on his Instagram account earlier that morning. In several posts, Jiang reportedly pointed a firearm at pictures of churches.

Police tracked Jiang to the front entrance of Park Valley’s building and arrested him, according to the Justice Department. Jiang carried a semiautomatic handgun and two full magazines of ammunition, the department added.

The shooting was just “minutes or seconds away” from happening, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told News4.

“This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia … and local law enforcement stopped it,” Davis reportedly said.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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