Police: Suspect dead in apparent suicide inside Center Moriches church

Posted: Updated:
CENTER MORICHES -

The suspect who barricaded himself inside a Center Moriches church Friday afternoon died in an apparent suicide, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini.

Sini says an off-duty NYPD officer saw the suspect in the church parking lot attempting to light his van on fire. That's when the suspect noticed police around 1:30 p.m.

Police say officers on the scene at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church on Ocean Avenue observed what appeared to be incendiary devices, including propane tanks at the church's front entrance.

When officers attempted to gain entry into the building, police say the suspect "threw gasoline at the officer and attempted to light a match." The officer was unharmed.

Commissioner Sini did not comment when asked about a potential motive, citing the ongoing investigation. He also declined to identify the suspect.

Friday night, the Diocese of Rockville Centre released a statement in which Bishop John Barres says the church is praying for the suspect and his family. Barres adds that Mass services will still happen Sunday, but will be held inside the Catholic school auditorium on the same property.

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