A Brooklyn nun said a man threatened to kill her while she was praying inside a church.
Police say a man approached Sister Maria Amador, 49, while she was in the middle of prayers at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights at 2 p.m. Wednesday and threatened to kill her, the New York Daily News reported.
“I thought this is my last day,” Sister Amador told CBS New York. “I said he is very strong and I don’t know, have many opportunities here. Thank God I am safe and I could run away.”
The Daily Mail reported that surveillance footage of the church released by the Diocese of Brooklyn showed the shirtless man walking back and forth before the incident.
Sister Maria said she was praying for her mother undergoing surgery at the time when the man threatened her.
“When I saw him I thought he was a little strange and maybe he needed help,” she said. “He came up to me and said, ‘I don’t believe in this because you don’t help the poor.’”
The man asked the nun to repeat what he said, but when, out of fear, she did not say anything, he grew angry with her.
As Sister Maria glanced over at a woman sitting in another pew, the man allegedly told her, “She can’t help you. I’m going to kill you.”
The nun ran off in the direction of the altar while screaming for help.
“I started to scream and the organist was practicing at that time,” she said.
The organist, 38-year-old Alejandro Zuleta, said he witnessed the man fleeing the church while Sister Maria ran in fear.
“I shouted to the guy, ‘You have to leave, you cannot harass people inside the church!’” Zuleta said.
The church remains open after the incident, but an increased police presence will remain outside the church Thursday morning until the church closes.
The NYPD said it is investigating this as a hate crime through the department’s Hate Crime Task Force. Police say they are searching for a black suspect who weighs around 200 pounds and is 6’2” with khaki shorts.