The preschool at Saint Mary’s School in Chilliwack was closed Friday, and the elementary school postponed opening after verbal threats were made by a man who attended on Wednesday and Thursday. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack Catholic preschool closed after threats made to priest, principal

RCMP intercepted man who is now in hospital under observation

A verbal, in-person threat to a Chilliwack Catholic priest and the principal of the adjacent Catholic school has the RCMP involved and the closure of the preschool for Friday.

A letter sent to parents with children at Saint Mary’s School on Thursday outlined the threats and the school’s response.

“On Wednesday morning, there was an individual who attended mass and made some verbal threats towards the priest and principal,” the letter signed by Johanna Chiappetta. “The RCMP was called and a police report was made.”

As a result of the threat and repeated visits by the individual, for precautionary reasons, the elementary school postponed opening until 10:45 a.m. on Friday and the preschool was closed for the day.

The note from the school also told parents the make, model and licence plate on the vehicle driven by the person who made the threat.

On Thursday, the man returned and attended the 8 a.m. mass again.

“The police [were] called and he was escorted off the premises,” Chiappetta wrote. “Before leaving, the individual did say that he would come back again tomorrow morning.”

Police confirmed they would be present Friday before 8 a.m. if he showed up, despite being ordered to stay away.

Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail confirmed the police were involved and said the man was intercepted on Thursday and is now at Chilliwack General Hospital under evaluation, with the RCMP’s social chronic program is involved.

Rail said the police were told, in part, that the individual was “preaching” to the priest and challenging their beliefs. He added that there was no real danger presented to the school, but police are investigating and the status of the case is fluid.

“The safety of students and schools remain a priority,” Rail said.

One parishioner said she wanted to attend Saint Mary’s Catholic Church Friday because her aunt is dying. But then she found out about the threats.

“After seeing all the New Zealand appalling hate crime, I am upset the local threat to our priest and church has caused my entire family fears from going to our normal place of worship and school,” said the woman who asked not to be named.

• READ MORE: Mass shootings at New Zealand mosques kill 49; 1 man charged


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap woman creates stress-reducing cuffs for Alzheimer’s patients

Personal connection to disease adds meaning to endeavour

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

Man accused in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire pleads not guilty to breach of bail

Supreme Court trial will decide arson charges while Provincial Court will look at breach charge

Judge in Salmon Arm Provincial Court asks inmate for verdict on prison food

Prisoner provides judgment on meals, judge cautioned about 7-Eleven remarks

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

Salmon Arm Kodiaks crowned champions in North Okanagan Super League

Bantam team will be vying for win at the district championships

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

“People are being injured and lives are being lost on this stretch of highway.” - MLA Dan Ashton

Alleged Okanagan animal abusers still awaiting trial date

Trial date expected to be set within the next three weeks

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Median cost of newly-built home in Kelowna metropolitan area stands at $950,000: Report

According to report, the price is almost on-par with newly-built homes in Toronto

Kelowna Rockets fire coach Adam Foote

General manager Bruce Hamilton made the annoucement Wednesday, named Kris Mallette interim coach

HERGOTT: Driving while intoxicated

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Most Read