Rocky River police release sketch of suspect in priest assault

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ROCKY RIVER, OH – Rocky River police are asking the public if they recognize the man who allegedly assaulted a clergy member on June 11th.

Photo courtesy of the Rocky River Police Dept.

Photo courtesy of the Rocky River Police Dept.

The man is described as being in his late 20’s, with pale skin and jet black (an unnatural color, likely dyed), shoulder-length hair. He was wearing black skinny jeans, black canvas shoes with white trim and had a silver hoop piercing in one of his nostrils.

He also has a tattoo, on the inside of his left forearm, in the shape of a cross that flares out at each end.

The suspect reportedly asked the priest to hear his confession late afternoon Saturday, June 11th. During the confession, the man pulled out a handgun – most likely a small, semi-automatic pistol – and assaulted the clergyman. Although the attack was reported right away, the suspect fled the scene before police could apprehend him. The name of the church where the attack took place has not been released.

The clergyman was treated and released from a local hospital. Police report that he is recovering at home.

Anyone with information regarding this case should contact the Rocky River Police, Det. Garth Selong (440-799-8352) or Lt Bill Crates at 440-331-1234, ext. 2153.

Police, along with the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, have sent out a warning to clergy at local churches:

Clergy at churches in the Cleveland Metropolitan area should pay special attention for anyone matching the description of this suspect and notify local police immediately if anyone matching the description is seen. As always, clergy and other church members should be aware of their personal safety and practical crime prevention methods.