Stabbing Spree at New Mexico Church

A 24-year-old man went on a stabbing spree during the closing moments of a Catholic parish's morning mass Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M., NBC News reports.

The suspect leapt over pews and lunged at people. Four people went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Toward the end of the NBC News article, one witness told a local television station "that her husband thought 'something was wrong'" with the suspect after shaking hands with him earlier in the service.

This detail highlights an important reminder for churches of all sizes and backgrounds: Forming church safety strategies now often can help defuse potentially dangerous situations later. In our January interview with Carl Chinn, who tracks violent incidents at churches and ministries, Chinn emphasized how most any church can develop safety and security plans by focusing on people, parts, and processes.

With people in particular, good planning and communication can help coordinate the presence of multiple people casually monitoring the building and grounds during worship services. And, this planning can create dialogue that encourages churchgoers to mention unusual behavior to an usher, staff member, or someone publicly identified as a church security team member.

These additional resources can help get planning underway:

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