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Man Armed With Gun, Knives Arrested at Church After Posting Instagram Threats: Police

A man armed with a loaded handgun, extra ammunition and several knives was arrested inside a Virginia church on Sunday morning after he posted threats of violence on Instagram, authorities said.

Rui Jiang, 35, was taken into custody in the town of Haymarket, roughly 40 miles west of Washington, D.C., after someone called 911 to report him posting the threats along with photos of the local church, Prince William County Police said in a release.

The 911 call sparked a brief manhunt, as officers were first dispatched to Jiang’s suspected home in Falls Church and then the Park Valley Church in Haymarket. While he wasn’t located at the residential address, where police later said a “kill manifesto” was found, a vehicle believed to belong to him was spotted in the church’s parking lot, police said.

Police said the church staff was already monitoring a suspicious person who entered the building as church service began around 10 a.m.

Pastor Barry White, speaking with local station WTOP, called it “a miracle of God” that an off-duty police officer was at the church when Jiang entered wearing all-black clothing and sunglasses. The attire immediately tipped off his security, he said.

“It was a rainy day; you didn’t really need to wear sunglasses,s and the fact that he was wearing them and wearing them inside the building … our guys flagged that right off the bat,” White told the station. 

The off-duty officer and church staff detained Jiang near the church’s entrance without incident. No injuries were reported, police said.

In addition to the firearm and additional magazine, Jiang was allegedly also found armed with a folding knife and a folding “credit card” style knife. He was determined to have a concealed weapon permit, and the firearm was not reported stolen, police said.

A search of his home also found the “kill manifesto,” which targeted strangers, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told NBC Washington.

“He knew he was going to take many lives yesterday, and he also said, ‘I don’t know any of them,’” Davis said.

Jiang faces charges of threats of bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon to a place of religious worship.

White said he hopes that Jiang gets the help that he needs.