El Paso police arrest man armed with a gun at Catholic church

A man was arrested by El Paso police after a call that a man with a gun had allegedly threatened someone during Sunday Mass at a Catholic church in the far East Side.

The incident occurred during the 11:30 a.m. Mass at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, also known as Mother Cabrini, at 12200 Vista Del Sol Drive near Loop 375, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso said in a statement.

The diocese said that a man was detained following a reported altercation with another person in the church building outside of the sanctuary. No threat was made to congregants and the Mass was celebrated without interruption.

Police responded to a call that a man had allegedly pulled out a gun and threatened someone at the church. The man was in custody by 11:59 a.m. shortly after officers arrived at the scene, according to police radio traffic.

Efren Castañeda, 44, of the East Side, was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police officials said Monday. He was remained jailed Monday under a $25,000 bond at the El Paso County Jail in Downtown.

According to a police news release, a man named Fabian Corona, 47, walked into the church and heard his name called by Castañeda, who was standing in a hallway leading to the restrooms. Corona went up to Castañeda to greet him but Castañeda instead grabbed Corona, pushed him toward the restrooms and pinned him against the wall.

Castañeda then allegedly showed a gun and threatened Corona, who walked away and called 911. Castañeda was sitting on a bench in the back of the church when he was found by officers and arrested, police reported.

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In a statement, Bishop Mark Seitz thanked "all personnel who serve as parish volunteers who help keep our parishes safe" and "extends his appreciation to the El Paso Police Department for their prompt and professional response, and their thorough investigation."

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church sits on a 12 acre property and is one of the largest churches in the El Paso diocese with more than 2,300 registered families. Mother Cabrini was an Italian immigrant to the United States and is the patron saint of immigrants.

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This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso police detain armed man at Mother Cabrini Catholic church