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.

Just Posted

Williams Lake-based charter bus company applies to operate two routes in interior

Service to smaller communities such as 70 Mile House, Lytton and Boston Bar

108 VFD to conduct small controlled burns around 108 Mile Ranch

Burns will be done mainly on Tuesday evenings

100 Mile RCMP track and recover stolen side-by-side

The weekly RCMP report for the South Cariboo area

Highway travel advisories in place due to risk of mudslides

North Bonaparte Road closed due to flooding

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Yellow snake spotted slithering in Greater Victoria neighbourhood

Police describe it as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting the snake may be exotic

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

UPDATED: Three dead in Surrey car crash: IHIT investigating

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read