By Todd Quinones
WILMINGTON, Del., (CBS) — Police say a priest was carjacked in front of a Wilmington church Wednesday morning.
The priest moved his SUV in order to open up the church’s food pantry for the neighborhood. Apparently, that was the opportunity the armed suspect waited for to strike.
Franciscan priest Paul Williams, 62, is grateful to be alive.
“It was indeed a terrifying moment … I feel violated to be honest with you,” he said.
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Wilmington Police say 19-year-old Deiondre Travis didn’t travel very far with the stolen SUV.
It was spotted just a few blocks away from where it was stolen at St. Paul’s Church Wednesday morning.
Police allege it was Travis who pointed a gun at Father Paul outside the rectory just after 8 a.m.
“He used the ‘N word’ and told me to hand over my car keys,” Williams said.
Father Paul wasn’t wearing his habit at the time. He was in regular clothing, but his fellow priest believes the suspect knew he was affiliated with the church at 4th and Jackson Streets.
“He’s coming out of the side door of the rectory; to me it would’ve been obvious,” Father Todd Carpenter said.
Wilmington Police indicate the stolen SUV had a fake license plate put on it. Then officers observed the suspect playing basketball – and when he opened the SUV, they arrested Travis. Police say he had the keys to the SUV on him.
Just a few weeks ago, the same church was broken into and a laptop and digital camera were stolen.
Despite all of this, Father Paul says he has no intentions on leaving.
“We put our faith in God and we can’t be cowards so we move on with our lives,” Williams said.
Travis is locked up on charges that include robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.