Man arrested for interrupting SC church service with laser pointer, broken crucifix

Parishioners at Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church had their service interrupted in an unsettling way Sunday.

“This man walks in like he’s going to make an announcement,” said Nick Collins, who was in the first pew with his wife. “He got up on the altar and he just kind of held his arms out like he was Jesus hanging on the cross and then he pulled out what looked like a laser and he pointed it at the audience.” Collins and crowded congregation in Sullivan’s Island were shocked by the strangers actions.

Collins and his wife Sally say the man then took out a broken crucifix that resembled a gun, “but the people in the back of the church didn’t know that” said Sally Collins. Collins told News 2 the man then pressed the wooden object to his own temple, pretending to commit suicide.

After the man’s interruption, the ushers escorted the man out of the church where he reportedly made a comment to another churchgoer about the charade. “He looked at her and went just go back in – it was just a joke,” said Sally Collins. “It’s not funny anywhere,” she said Sunday night, citing the Mother Emanuel shooting.

45-year-old James Goulah is charged with disturbing religious worship and is being held at the Al Cannon Detention Center. His next court date in January 5, 2016.

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