Armed man arrested after striking Melbourne priest, barricading himself in church

Lisa Maria Garza, Orlando Sentinel
·1 min read

A 45-year-old man was arrested on Sunday after striking a priest then barricading himself inside a Melbourne church on Sunday, the police department said.

Melbourne officers arrived to the Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church around 7:45 a.m. in response to an incident involving church officials and a man later identified as Mark Patrick Soliman, the agency said in a statement.

Soliman, of Cocoa, allegedly hit one of the priests then brandished a firearm when officers arrived to the scene at 1653 Guava Ave, according to police.

Church members inside were able to escape but Soliman barricaded himself near the front door of the church and threatened to kill himself, the agency said.

A SWAT team communicated with Soliman, who was eventually arrested after 12 p.m. Neither police nor Soliman were injured during the incident, according to the department.

Detectives are interviewing witnesses and investigating the scene to determine what charges Soliman will face.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Melbourne police at 321-608-6731.