(PoliticalLookout.com)- A Florida man was arrested in Ocala after allegedly driving his vehicle through the front door of a church, and then setting the building on fire while many people were inside. The horrifying incident occurred over the weekend, while violent Antifa and Black Lives Matter mobs continue smashing up buildings. The famous St. John’s Episcopal Church was set on fire in June, leading some to wonder whether this man was influenced by the riots.
Steven Shields, a 23-year-old man, was arrested and charged by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday just hours after he drove a minivan through the doors of the Queen of Peace Catholic Church. He poured gasoline in the foyer of the building and set the building on fire, causing major damage to the building.
The people inside the building were preparing for Mass when the fire was set.
A post from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office shows the extent of the damage, and it’s shocking.
“Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies responded to Queen of Peace Catholic Church, located at 6455 SW State Road 200, after receiving reports of someone setting fire to the sanctuary while several parishioners were inside preparing for a morning mass,” the post read.
Shields is understood to have left the building after setting the fire and attempting to get away in his vehicle. Deputy Josue Gonzalez gave chase and disable the vehicle while it was moving. Shields was taken into custody and has been charged with a count of Attempted Second Degree Murder, and the First-Degree Felony of evidencing prejudice. He also faces a count of Arson to a Structure, which is a Life Felony when it’s a building where people are normally president.
Sheriff Billy Woods expressed the importance of people being able to worship safely.
“Our freedom to worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear,” he said. “My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace. I’m proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside of us during this investigation.”
Shields didn’t show any remorse. During an interview, he is reported to have said what he did was “awesome” and that he smiled and laughed throughout the rest of the conversation.