The preschool at Saint Mary’s School in Chilliwack was closed Friday, and the elementary school postponed opening after verbal threats were made by a man who attended on Wednesday and Thursday. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack Catholic preschool closed after threats made to priest, principal

RCMP intercepted man who is now in hospital under observation

A verbal, in-person threat to a Chilliwack Catholic priest and the principal of the adjacent Catholic school has the RCMP involved and the closure of the preschool for Friday.

A letter sent to parents with children at Saint Mary’s School on Thursday outlined the threats and the school’s response.

“On Wednesday morning, there was an individual who attended mass and made some verbal threats towards the priest and principal,” the letter signed by Johanna Chiappetta. “The RCMP was called and a police report was made.”

As a result of the threat and repeated visits by the individual, for precautionary reasons, the elementary school postponed opening until 10:45 a.m. on Friday and the preschool was closed for the day.

The note from the school also told parents the make, model and licence plate on the vehicle driven by the person who made the threat.

On Thursday, the man returned and attended the 8 a.m. mass again.

“The police [were] called and he was escorted off the premises,” Chiappetta wrote. “Before leaving, the individual did say that he would come back again tomorrow morning.”

Police confirmed they would be present Friday before 8 a.m. if he showed up, despite being ordered to stay away.

Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail confirmed the police were involved and said the man was intercepted on Thursday and is now at Chilliwack General Hospital under evaluation, with the RCMP’s social chronic program is involved.

Rail said the police were told, in part, that the individual was “preaching” to the priest and challenging their beliefs. He added that there was no real danger presented to the school, but police are investigating and the status of the case is fluid.

“The safety of students and schools remain a priority,” Rail said.

One parishioner said she wanted to attend Saint Mary’s Catholic Church Friday because her aunt is dying. But then she found out about the threats.

“After seeing all the New Zealand appalling hate crime, I am upset the local threat to our priest and church has caused my entire family fears from going to our normal place of worship and school,” said the woman who asked not to be named.

• READ MORE: Mass shootings at New Zealand mosques kill 49; 1 man charged


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read