Police: Man threatened to shoot up Baldwin church on Easter

Police: Man threatened to shoot up Baldwin church on Easter

Jose Rodriguez is accused of threatening to shoot worshippers of a Baldwin church on Easter Sunday. Jose Rodriguez is accused of threatening to shoot worshippers of a Baldwin church on Easter Sunday.
HEMPSTEAD -

A homeless man is accused of threatening to shoot worshippers of a Baldwin church on Easter Sunday.

Parishioners were just finishing their Easter service at Iglesia Despertar Church on Grand Avenue when police say Jose Rodriguez came through the door and approached an usher, asking why the service finished early.

Pastor Wilmer Estupinan and his wife, Clara, say the 44-year-old Rodriguez quickly became upset, gestured as if he had a gun and threatened the usher. They started fighting, and Rodriguez left after being told that police were coming.

Estupinan was downstairs when the initial altercation occurred. He says Rodriguez returned to the church, ran downstairs and threatened to shoot him.

The pastor says he spoke to Rodriguez in both English and Spanish, but the suspect only communicated through sign language in court Monday.

His attorney says he is hearing-impaired and has a significant speech deficiency, adding that her client is a devout Christian who attends church three times a week. She maintains that the pastor and usher just could not understand what Rodriguez was trying to tell them.

Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to a number of charges, including making a terroristic threat.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."