Greg Laurie Responds After 2 Naked Men With Guns Arrested Inside Harvest Orange County ChurchBlog
Harvest Orange County Church Pastor Greg Laurie has said he is "thankful to God for the prayers and abundant support of our community" after two naked men with a fake gun were arrested Wednesday night inside the Irvine, California church.
After brothers Paul Vincent Vielkind, 34, and Brandon Joseph Vielkind, 22, of Riverside were arrested and charged with burglary and felony vandalism, Laurie took to Facebook to weigh in on the situation.
"There is not much I can tell you at this point except the following- Two men who were thought to be armed broke into the Orange County Harvest church building last night," he said. "Police were notified and on the scene within minutes. After a brief search and standoff, the suspects were found in the building and apprehended. No one was injured in the process. There was no known motive for the break-in but there were some minor damages to the building. We are grateful to the Irvine police for their quick response."
Thankfully, the suspects did not have real guns, Laurie said.
"Harvest continues to work with local authorities to assess the motive and intention of these criminals," the pastor continued. "We are confident the situation is resolved, all our service and programs will continue as normal, but we are taking additional security precautions for the foreseeable future."
He added, "We appreciate the extraordinary work of the local authorities and are thankful to God for the prayers and abundant support of our community. The fact that the situation was resolved so quickly attests to the professionalism of the Irvine Police Dept. and also to the safety we already had in place as a congregation."
According to KCAL9/CBS2, SWAT teams were called in after a security guard saw two men carrying what appeared to be a rifle walk into the lobby of Harvest Church, and called the police.
Firefighters, SWAT teams, snipers on the roof, police dogs and Irvine police reportedly surrounded the building as the suspects barricaded themselves in for more than two hours.
The LA Times reports that the brothers lobbed a smoke bomb outside the church and finally left the building, one without clothing and one partially clothed. They were then arrested by police.
On Facebook, dozens expressed relief that the incident ended peacefully and lifted Harvest Church up in prayer.
"Continued prayers for our church and it's safety and a hedge of protection not only for the building and surrounding area but for anyone who comes and goes to our church, no weapon formed against us shall prosper," wrote one commenter.
"Praying for the church, praying for these two individuals that they seek repentance and find the Lord in their heart. Praying for continued safety of the Irvine Police Department," added another.
"Thankful for the Lord's protection of the first responders from IPD and that there wasn't anyone else in the building," wrote another.