Video: Pastor intervenes as suspect arrested at Conn. church
A pastor arrived and blocked the police cruiser that a domestic violence suspect was in and demanded officers release him to her custody
New Haven Register, Conn.
EAST HAVEN, Conn. — The East Haven Police Department was dispatched to a home after being notified by firefighters that they were at the scene of a serious domestic violence assault.
When police arrived, officers learned that a 59-year-old woman had been assaulted by her son, police said in a news release. The son, later identified as Ryan Champlin, 34, then fled the residence. The victim told officers that she got into an argument with her son because he does not pay to live with the family.. The victim advised officers that while she was being assaulted by her son, she attempted to call 911, but was unable to do so because Champlin pushed her to the ground, police said.
The victim said she was able to run into her bedroom and lock the door, but Champlin kicked the door open, grabbed the cordless phone from her and struck her in the back of the head with it several times, breaking the phone, police said. He then fled the residence.
After speaking with officers, the victim was takento the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
After leaving the victim’s home, a search for Champlin began. While searching for Champlin, officers received a tip that the suspect had been dropped off at the Old Stone Church, 251 Main St., in East Haven. Officers spoke with church employees who were not sure if Champlin was inside, but invited them in to look for him, police said. As officers searched the church and attached day care facility, they found Champlin hiding in an upstairs office.
He was taken into custody without further incident, police said.
While on scene at the Old Stone Church, and with Champlin already in custody, a pastor arrived and blocked the police cruiser that Champlin was in and demanded officers release him to her custody. She advised officers they had no right to arrest him inside the church, even if it was for felony domestic violence charges, the release said.
Officers advised her Champlin was wanted for violent felony domestic violence charges and could not be released at that time. The pastor, who was extremely irate, proceeded to attempt to get in front of the police cruiser when an officer attempted to drive away with Champlin, but was stopped so by another officer on scene, the release said. During this, officers de-escalated the situation.
“While the East Haven Police Department respects the sanctity of a church, we also owe it to victims of domestic violence to apprehend suspects who commit violent felony assaults,” Lt. Joseph M. Murgo stated in the release. “Officers were also cognizant of the fact that children attending day care might have been exposed to a fleeing felony suspect within the interior of the church. We feel that the decision to enter the church was the correct one in this particular situation.”
Champlin was taken to the East Haven Police Department where he was charged with second-degree assault, interfering with an emergency call, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief in the third degree. He is being held on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
©2018 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)