Police stop armed man headed to Texas church to ‘fulfill a prophecy’ |

Police stop armed man headed to Texas church to ‘fulfill a prophecy’

The Washington Post
Tony D. Albert told police he was on his way to church to “fulfill a prophecy.” Image: Guadalupe, Texas, County Jail

It was Sunday morning in the suburban county of Seguin, Texas, when a restaurant employee noticed something amiss: A man was wandering around donned in sunglasses and a surgical mask, carrying something that too closely resembled a handgun not to call the police.

Local authorities heeded the warning and responded around 7 a.m.

The first officer on scene described the same oddly dressed person as “wearing tactical style clothing, a surgical face shield, carrying a loaded firearm and extra ammunition,” according to a statement by the Seguin Police Department.

When asked, the man – later identified by police as Tony D. Albert – explained that he was on his way to church to “fulfill a prophecy,” Seguin Police Department’s public information officer, Tanya Brown, told The Washington Post. Albert, who did not identify a specific church, also believed that he was in a different Texas city when officers approached him.

According to The New York Times, Brianna and Gabriela Jimenez had encountered Albert on Sunday morning. The mother and daughter said he had asked them for directions to “the nearest Baptist church.” Brianna Jimenez described Albert as “on a mission to go to that church.”

The Houston-based 33-year-old was arrested and booked on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana.

According to court records, Albert’s criminal history dates back nearly a decade. His convictions span from resisting arrest and disarming a police officer to driving while intoxicated. In 2017, he was also charged with assaulting a family member.

Albert was taken to the Guadalupe County Jail, where, the San Antonio Express-News reported, bond was set at $100,000.

The arrest arises two months after the quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill – home to one of the most concentrated Jewish communities in the country – witnessed the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Armed with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle, on Oct. 27, a gunman identified by authorities as Robert Bowers opened fire during Sabbath services at Tree of Life, the city’s oldest synagogue.

Cities across the nation have endured a recent rash of hate- and religious-based crimes.

In November, after a failed attempt at entering the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, Kentucky, a historically black church, Gregory A. Bush allegedly shot two African-American customers at a Kroger.

The city of Lacey, Washington, experienced a string of attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier this year, including two fires that destroyed religious hubs.

Brown noted Monday that while authorities are not exactly sure what Albert had planned, they are glad someone alerted police.

“When you have someone who has a loaded handgun that says that he’s ‘going to fulfill a prophecy,’ we can only assume what that means.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.