Armed woman walks into church searching for a priest to hold hostage

A woman wearing body armor and carrying two guns entered a Pennsylvania church Sunday morning and threatened attendees, state police said.

It is reported that Amber Espigh, 31, has been charged in connection with the incident that occurred at Bethel Assembly of God in the 1400 block of Holly Pike in South Middleton Township, about half an hour southwest of Harrisburg.

Based on documents filed in court, Espigh said she was seeking a priest and intended to hold him as a hostage.

The district attorney for Cumberland County, Sean McCormack, told the station that a county detective who was attending the service asked Espigh to leave, but she refused to do so.

The police reported that Espigh loaded a gun and pointed it at the detective and others, but no shots were fired.

In the end, the detective was able to convince her to place the weapon in a holster.

According to the state police, the suspect was outside the church building the entire time but was trying to enter it.

The state police were dispatched to the church just after 10 a.m., where church members engaged the suspect in conversation until the police arrived. No one was injured in the incident, according to police.

“We avoided what could be a very tragic incident,” McCormack told WGAL. “We were lucky.”

She was listed at Cumberland County Prison as an inmate on Tuesday morning. A bail of $500,000 has been set, according to WGAL.

The suspect showed up at a church with a handgun and rifle, so the bail amount is “appropriate,” McCormick said.

According to the police, Espigh was involved in a burglary in Fairview Township, York County, earlier in the morning.