Man arrested after police say he threatened local priest with large knife

ALEXANDRIA, La. (APD) - A suspect has been arrested after police say he threatened a local priest in Alexandria.

William Branch (APD)

APD responded to Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church on Elliott Street around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Police said that a man entered the church during a service and threatened a priest with a large knife.

The man then exited the church, but responding officers found him nearby and took him into custody.

The suspect was identified as William Branch. He was transported to the Alexandria Police Department to be interviewed. He was then taken to the Rapides Parish Detention Center, where he was charged with aggravated assault and terrorizing.

"He has significant mental health issues that we're aware of and working on," said Branch's attorney, Michael Brewer.

Prompt Succor Church Pastor Rev. Daniel O'Connor told News Channel Five that fathers and grandfathers in the audience, some of them law enforcement, detained the man until police arrived. He said they are grateful no one was hurt.

"A man came down the main aisle, he had a knife," Rev. O'Conner said. "He laid down the knife on the steps leading to the alter, turned around, walked back up the main aisle. We know the man he is troubled. We have a history with him. We pray for him. None of the students or anyone else was ever in imminent danger of being hurt."

The church also sent out an email about the incident to parishioners
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