Catholic priest hospitalized after machete attack in Louisiana
Father Stephen Ugwu, the priest of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Melville, Louisiana, suffered a violent attack on Thursday evening.
According to police reports, the attacker, 58-year-old Johnny Dwayne Neely of Palmetto, had approached Father Ugwu asking for food. When he refused, the aggressor brutally stabbed him multiple times with a machete.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Neely faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, hate crimes, and home invasion. They also reported that Neely had shouted he “wanted to kill a black man today”. Melville Police Chief Phillip Lucas is cooperating with the FBI, as they have reasonable grounds to believe the priest’s race was a major motive in the attack.
Father Ugwu was rushed to a local hospital and is in critical but stable condition. Nurses reported that he managed to talk a little and his vitals appeared to be steady. They scheduled further scans to determine if he requires intensive care.
The Diocese of Lafayette confirmed the attack and asked for continued prayers.
“The Melville Police Department is handling the investigation. We wish to thank all who have been praying for Father Ugwu and request that you continue to do so”.
The investigation is ongoing.