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Virginia man charged with attempted church shooting

On Thursday, the 28th of March, a federal grand jury prosecuted Rui Jiang, resident of Falls Church, for attempted obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs; carrying and using a firearm during a violent crime, and making threats.

Jiang was arrested on the 24th of September last year, outside of the Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia; following a call from a local church member about Jiang carrying a handgun and two full magazines, in addition to his threatening social media posts.

Jiang had issues with law enforcement prior to the incident. His derogatory social media posts included a picture of a Bible being desecrated, using the Lord’s name in vain and threatening promises of retaliation against Christians. One of his posts read: “Welcome to Park Valley church, attended by many top secret gov clearance holders in the area. From this day forward, you will know that this is how you will repaid me. Blood will be on your hands.”

There was another post with the picture of the Bible on the bathroom floor tagged Park Valley Church, captioned: “Put the Bible on the floor next to the bathroom. Now every time I take a piss, I have to step on it. #fk God.”

Federal agents searched his apartment and found letters confessing to the families of the “men about to be slain – I am sorry for what I have done and about to do. May your tears not be cried in vain, but to celebrate how your loved ones had lived”. 
According to the FBI affidavit: “The officer observed multiple pictures posted to the social media account, including one burning a Bible in a frying pan on top of a stove, one with a Bible placed on the bathroom floor, and threatening messages against a church and the government. There were also pictures of a silhouette target with bullet holes in it with the hashtag ‘f- God,’ as well as pictures from inside a white vehicle parked in a church parking lot at night. Jiang denied going to Park Valley Church to harm anyone or himself. He admitted that he could see how someone could view his Instagram posts and emails coupled with him showing up to the church armed with a gun as ‘scary,’ but believed it to be a misunderstanding.”

Jiang could face life in prison if convicted. The FBI and the Prince William County, Virginia, and Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Departments were all involved in investigating the case.

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