An Ontario man was arrested after he allegedly threatened to kill people at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Upland and set a small fire in the chapel on Thursday, July 7, police said.
There were no injuries, Sgt. Marci Williams said. Authorities didn’t have an estimated cost of damages.
Police received a call at 2:48 p.m. about a man in the chapel yelling that he would kill everyone in the church, located at 877 N. Campus Ave., according to Williams. The man also claimed he had a weapon, she said, but none was seen.
She said the school wasn’t in session at the time.
There were two or three people there, including church staff and a woman who was praying, Lt. Anthony Kabayan said.
“They all vacated the chapel area,” he said.
Police said the suspect lit books on fire. A wall sustained smoke damage, Kabayan said.
The suspect was walking out as officers arrived, the lieutenant said. Officers used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
David Martinez, 42, of Ontario was arrested on suspicion of arson and making a criminal threat.
“He had a lighter,” Kabayan said. “We don’t know if there is any history between him and the church.”
Officers didn’t find a weapon on the suspect, he added.
As of Friday, Martinez remained in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Church officials couldn’t be reached for comment. The church office was closed Friday.