Man Crashes Automobile into Church and Starts Fire in Foyer

On Saturday, Steven Anthony Shields, 24, allegedly crashed a vehicle into the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Marion County, Florida, and started a fire in the church foyer.

Deputies responded to the church on reports that someone had set fire there while parishioners were getting ready for morning mass. Shields’ vehicle crashed through the front doors. He then got out, poured gasoline into the foyer, and started a fire.

According to police, Shields then got back into his car and allegedly drove off while being chased by a deputy who stopped the fleeing suspect by using a P.I.T. maneuver.

No one at the church sustained injuries and the fire department was able to put out the blaze.

The 24-year-old has been charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder, one count of burglary of an occupied structure, one count of arson to a structure, and one count of felony fleeing or attempting to elude. The defendant is detained in Marion County Jail on no bond. It is unclear if Mr. Shields has an attorney at this time.