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Man stabs parishioner, says ‘Jesus is not real,’ outside San Francisco church during confirmations

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is pictured in a file photo celebrating Mass outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. A suspected assailant is facing charges of attempted murder after attacking a parishioner outside of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco April 18, 2024, as the archbishop was celebrating the sacrament of confirmation. (OSV News photo/Dennis Callahan, Archdiocese of San Francisco)

(OSV News) — parishioner was stabbed outside a historic San Francisco church April 21, where the city’s Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was administering the sacrament of confirmation.

The San Francisco Police Department told OSV News that officers arrived just before 1 p.m. Sunday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, where an adult male was found “suffering from an apparent stab wound.”

The victim was then taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said police.

A 25-year-old suspect named Marko Asaulyuk was arrested and booked into San Francisco County Jail, charged with attempted murder and eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon, police told OSV News. Asaulyuk remains behind bars. Police did not provide information on a motive for the attack.

An April 22 post on X (formerly Twitter) by local crime reporter Henry K. Lee shows images of police taking into custody a handcuffed, blond-haired white male wearing a red jacket and long black shorts, whom Lee said was Asaulyuk.

Local media reported that the suspect, who was believed to be without a fixed residence, had entered the church — at which a large congregation was present — prior to the attack. Due to safety concerns, he was escorted outside.

Unnamed witnesses told local media the man then accosted an unidentified individual, saying, “Jesus is not real,” and shortly thereafter stabbed the victim, whose wife called emergency services. Several people detained the suspect until police arrived.

OSV News is awaiting a response to its request for comment from the Archdiocese of San Francisco and from the parish staff of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The parish traces its foundation to 1884, with its first church destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The current church, known for its iconic twin spires, was completed in 1924. The parish is administered by the Salesians of St. John Bosco, who along with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians serve the area’s young people, elders and Chinese communities, as well as a growing number of tourists and persons experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @GinaJesseReina.

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