Police: Suspect dead in apparent suicide inside Center Moriches church

Posted: Updated:

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.

News 12 has recently updated to a brand new version of our iOS and Android apps. If you don't have auto updates enabled on your devices, head to the App Store or Google Play Store to update to the latest version. This will ensure you keep getting up-to-date local news, traffic and weather information.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account 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."