Potential Church Attack Foiled by Alert Woman and Swift Police Response


Haymarket, VIRGINIA — A potentially catastrophic event was averted over the weekend thanks to the vigilance of an observant woman and the rapid response of law enforcement. Rui Jiang, 35, was arrested at Park Valley Church on Sunday morning in possession of a loaded handgun and an additional magazine. His arrest followed a series of threatening social media posts, some featuring imagery of the church building.

The alarm was raised by a woman in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, who recognized Jiang and alerted local authorities about the concerning online posts. Jiang, a Virginia resident, was taken into custody during the church's 10 a.m. service, attended by approximately 1,000 people, including 300 children.

Pastor Barry White described the incident as an "imminent disaster" that was fortunately prevented. Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis commended the quick actions of the officers, stating that they may have thwarted "America’s latest version of a mass killer."

Jiang managed to gain entry through a rear door of the church and was later apprehended by security personnel and responding officers. He was found in possession of multiple weapons, including a folding knife and a "credit card" style knife.

Jiang now faces charges, including a felony for making threats to intimidate a population and a misdemeanor for carrying a dangerous weapon into a place of worship. He was arraigned on Monday and assigned a public defender, with his next court hearing scheduled for October 11.

The motive behind Jiang's targeting of Park Valley Church remains under investigation. Pastor White noted that Jiang had attended services at the church during the summer, and social media posts suggested a belief that government employees frequented the church.

This incident serves as a reminder of the critical role community vigilance plays in safeguarding public spaces. The combined efforts of the alert woman, church staff, and coordinated law enforcement response ensured the safety of all present.