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Man who threw smoke bombs on a church is charged in New Jersey

28 year-old Nicholas G. Mucci has been charged for attacking believers at an anti-racism concert hosted by Trinity Episcopal Parish of Asbury Park, throwing smoke bombs and wrecking the church's property.

Trinity Episcopal Parish held a concert organized by One People’s Project – a social justice advocacy organization –  focusing on anti-racist activism back in January.

According to the documents filed in the case, at around 9 p.m., as the concert was ending, Mucci, wearing a black face covering, approached the church and obstructed the participants from leaving. He allegedly yelled, “White lives matter, too” and threw three smoke bombs toward the church and into the exiting crowd before driving off. Surveillance camera footage shows a vehicle approaching the church and two items being thrown from it. As smoke was filling the air and the crowd became alarmed, the vehicle sped away.

Based on witness reports, a dark vehicle was circling around the church. Shortly after 10 p.m., Mucci, still wearing a black face covering, exited the car and attempted to pepper spray the group whilst shouting “White lives matter”.

Authorities with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the DCJ and state police, with assistance from the FBI identified and arrested Mucci in March. 

New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Justice reached a verdict on Wednesday, the 16th of August. Mucci was indicted on 15 charges: aggravated arson, two counts of causing or risking widespread injury or damage, two counts of possession of a destructive device, unlawful possession of a weapon, two counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats, possession of a firearm, possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, and hindering.

According to first Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo: “The rich diversity of cultures, religions, and ideals in New Jersey is one of our state’s greatest strengths and what had brought celebrants to Trinity Parish at the time of the alleged attack.”

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin stated that “This attack targeted people exercising their freedom of expression as they left a house of worship. Our perseverance in investigating and bringing to justice the person responsible for this attack demonstrates our commitment to protecting the rights of all New Jerseyans to live free from the threat of violence and fear.”



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