Suspects in nun's slaying say they were sent by God
The world is going to end, `prophets' tell St. Lucia police
BY GUY ELLIS
CASTRIES, St. Lucia -- Two men who attacked worshipers in a cathedral
small Caribbean island, setting them ablaze and killing an Irish nun, told police
they were sent by God to combat corruption in the Roman Catholic Church.
``The way they're talking is that the world is going to end and
that the time had
come for what they had to do,'' police Inspector Gregory Montoute said Monday.
The suspects -- Kim John, 20, and Francis Phillip, 34 -- identified
Rastafarians, Montoute said. Police spokesman Albert Fregis said St. Lucia's
Rastafarian leaders denounced the Sunday attack at the Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception in this port town.
Monsignor Theophilus Joseph, the cathedral's administrator, said
John told police
``that God asked him to do it because there is so much corruption in the Catholic
The men told police they were ``prophets'' sent by Haile Selassie,
Ethiopian emperor worshiped by Rastafarians.
Police said they do not think the men belonged to an organized group.
Rastafarianism, followed by perhaps one million people worldwide,
Jamaica and spread throughout the Caribbean in the 1930s out of the anger felt
by descendants of slaves with the colonial powers' oppression of blacks. It is
based on peaceful principles. Adherents are often noted for their belief that
marijuana encourages the calm necessary for religious meditation.
The attack Sunday occurred while more than 400 people were inside
cathedral. The men burst in carrying machetes and a blowtorch while many
worshipers lined the aisles preparing to take communion, police and witnesses
One of the attackers doused people with a flammable liquid, while
another used a
blowtorch to ignite the flames, witnesses said. Police said the attackers hacked
at people with the machetes. But Joseph, the cathedral administrator, said the
intruders beat people with pieces of wood and used torches to set worshipers
The attackers then made their way to the altar, where they set
fire to the Rev.
Charles Gaillard, injured an altar server and burned the altar.
Gaillard, who suffered a collapsed lung and third-degree burns
over his body, was
flown to Martinique for treatment. He was in critical condition. At least 12 other
people were hospitalized, and five were in critical condition Monday, police said.
The slain nun was identified as Sister Theresa Egan, 72, of Ireland.
to the Order of St. Joseph of Cluny, an Irish order that has been involved in
education programs on the island for nearly 100 years.
Egan had lived in St. Lucia for decades.
After the attack, worshipers grabbed John and held him until police
was captured Monday morning in the suburb of Pave.