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Authorities: Virginia Man Indicted in Attempted Church Shooting Said He Hated Church, God

By Liz Lykins
rui jiang hated attempted church shooting virginia
Rui Jiang has been indicted on charges he tried to carry out a shooting at a Virginia church. (Photo: Prince William County Police Department)

A federal grand jury indicted 35-year-old Rui Jiang on Wednesday on charges he tried to carry out a shooting at a Virginia church, authorities announced.

Jiang attempted to shoot the Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia, after posting threats and violent content online against the church and God, according to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Jiang now faces charges of attempting to obstruct the free exercise of church congregants’ religious beliefs. He is also being charged with use of a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the indictment.

If a judge convicts Jiang on all counts, he could face life in prison, according to a presione soltar from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jiang was arrested at the Park Valley Church during a Sunday morning service last September, according to a presione soltar from the Fairfax County Police Department. Police said a concerned citizen alerted them that Jiang had posted several threats against the church on his Instagram account earlier that morning. In several posts, Jiang reportedly pointed a firearm at pictures of churches.

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park valley church
Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia. (Photo: social media)

Police tracked Jiang to the front entrance of Park Valley’s building and arrested him, according to the Justice Department. Jiang carried a semiautomatic handgun and two full magazines of ammunition, the department added.

The shooting was just “minutes or seconds away” from happening, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told News4.

“This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia … and local law enforcement stopped it,” Davis reportedly said.  

Police then searched Jiang’s apartment and found five copies of a letter, the Justice Department indicated. The letters read, “To the families of those men about to be slain – I am sorry for what I have done and about to do. May your tears not be cried in vain, but to celebrate how your loved ones had lived.”

Jiang signed each copy, authorities stated.

In the letters, Jiang also claimed to be a political assassin for the government for more than a decade, according to the affidavit.

He added that “despite my continued sacrifices in the name of duty, my quiet donations to churches, God’s community, praying on my knees every morning at 5 a.m. for an hour, thanking God in Jesus’ name, despite my faith even in my worst of days – nothing has changed. My mental health continues to deteriorate.”

Jiang wrote that his actions against Park Valley were not personal or politically or religiously motivated, the affidavit reported. He said he planned to target men in the attempted shooting so that they would “know what it’s like to be me.”

Chief Davis later described the letters as a “manifesto,” according to News4.

Police “found a kill manifesto, the likes of which I’ve never read,” Davis told the news station. “He knew he was going to take many lives. . .and he also said, ‘I don’t know any of them.’”

Jiang began attending Park Valley about five months before the attempted shooting, according to WUSA9. He denied intending to hurt anyone in an interview with police.

Jiang posted multiple vulgar remarks about God on his social media accounts, according to the affidavit. Jiang had shared photos that depicted the Bible burning in a frying pan and the Bible placed on the bathroom floor, the affidavit said.

Other posts contained threatening messages against the government and Park Valley.

One post depicted several pictures of him in a white vehicle outside of a church at night. One image caption stated “blood will be on your hands.”

The case against Jiang is proceeding in federal court, according to the Justice Department. Court records show he is to be arraigned Wednesday.

Park Valley Senior Pastor Barry White said he breathed a sigh of relief after Jiang was arrested in September, according to News4.

“Quite frankly, we’ve just been thanking God. You know, God’s been so good to us, and he protected us,” White told the news station last September. “All are welcome, everybody’s welcome, but at the same time, you know, we always want to be as vigilant as possible for everyone’s safety.”

On Sunday, Park Valley shared about holding its Easter service and celebrating the resurrection on social media.

“He is risen indeed!” the church wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for celebrating Jesus with us today!”

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins escribe for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.



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Una respuesta

  1. Pray that he is knocked off his horse, hears the heavenly voice of Jesus the Messiah calling him into His service. He may be a great evangelist for the Kingdom of God.
    May it be so in Jesus Name.

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Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George.