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Priest says he was prepared to die during church robbery

Rev. Benny Putharayil
Rev. Benny Putharayil


RAY, N.D. (AP) The priest at a church in Ray, North Dakota that was targeted by a robber armed with a shotgun says God gave him the grace to handle the situation calmly, and that he was prepared to die.

The Rev. Benny Putharayil says the man walked into the Church of St. Michael during Saturday night mass and told the 35 parishioners to get on the floor. He then had Putharayil to fill a bag with money. Three parishioners chased the man after he fled and gave a description to officers, who apprehended the suspect.

The man is wanted for questioning in the suspicious deaths of his wife and mother in Illinois. Putharayil says after the robbery the congregation talked for a bit, prayed for the robber, then held Mass as planned.