What to Know
- A 33 year old man is behind bars, charged with making threats toward members of a North Miami Beach monastery over the weekend.
A 33-year-old man is behind bars, charged with making threats toward members of a North Miami Beach monastery over the weekend.
Jorge Arizamendoza was arrested Sunday night and charged with multiple counts including aggravated assault of a religious institution and three counts of criminal mischief.
Arizamendoza appeared in court Monday, where he was represented by a public defender. He was being held Monday evening on $92,500 bond, jail records showed.
According to the arrest report, Arizamendoza entered The Ancient Spanish Monastery off N. 167th Street and Dixie Highway. Once inside, he began to yell about wanting to speak with the priest, saying the congregation "shouldn't conduct mass at that location" among other things.
"Deranged, loud, shouting," is how Father Gregory Mansfield described the encounter. "Saying 'you can't have mass, you can't have services here, this can't be, this has to be stopped.'"
Members of the congregation began to exit, some yelling that the suspect may have a gun. Arizamendoza reportedly told them he didn’t, but that he would go get one and shoot the priest in the face.
Arizamendoza had twice before been at the monastery in the last week. On Thursday, he allegedly threw a rock at the sign in front of the building before grabbing a tool out of his car and destroying the rest of the sign before leaving.
On Friday, he allegedly used a tool to force his way into the building. Once inside, Arizamendoza destroyed a security camera before beheading a statue, an 800 year old relic the members of the congregation deemed "irreplaceable."