Michigan Church Closed Tuesday After Threat List Found

Michigan Church Closed Tuesday After Threat List Found

A church in Michigan was closed Tuesday after its inclusion on a threat list that included multiple houses of worship.

A church in Michigan was closed Tuesday after its inclusion on a threat list that included multiple houses of worship.

The list was discovered Monday by a man who saw a suspicious package in his Dearborn Heights backyard. The toiletries bag contained a unloaded handgun and a map with multiple addresses circled and the word “target” written on it. Three of the addresses were houses of worship, including Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Masjid Bilal.

"Somebody put this stuff into a bag to create the impression that a threat exists," said Grand Rapids Police Lt. Pat Merrill. "Now the question is how valid is it and we're gonna work that."

The police informed Westminster Presbyterian that it was in no immediate danger, but it still cancelled some services and closed the Westminster Child Development Center, Downtown Food Pantry, Open Door Ministry and offices for the day. In a Facebook post, the church said, "We are always mindful of a balance between hospitality and security.” It added, "We are steadfast in our commitment to creating a hospitable and gracious environment for our city and neighbors, while doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff and daycare families."

Police were on patrol Tuesday night at the Masjid Bilal to help attendees feel safer. The mosque holds prayer services every night, and those gathering Tuesday said they welcomed the extra police presence after learning the mosque was on the threat list.

The FBI and several police agencies investigating the list have no information yet on the gun’s owner or whether there are any suspects. A statewide investigation is ongoing.

The threat list comes less than 14 days after the Sutherland Springs church shooting, which left 26 dead and at least 20 injured.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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