A woman accused of threatening to shoot congregants and blow up a Clairemont church during an Easter Sunday service pleaded not guilty to nine charges against her Wednesday.
Anna Conkey, 31, was formally charged with eight felonies; possession of a firearm in a school zone, three counts of making a criminal threats, attempting to make a criminal threat, child abuse, resisting an executive officer, and making a false report of a bomb threat to an agency or business.
She also pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count of disturbing a religious meeting.
Prosecutors said Conkey walked into the auditorium of the Mount Everest Academy Sunday afternoon, where the non-denominational Tsidkenu Church was having Easter service, and began making threats.
They said she was holding a handgun and told the congregation, "everyone is going to die." There were about 100 people in the church.
The judge issued a protective order saying Conkey could not interact with her two children, the pastor of the church where the event allegedly happened, and that she could not come near Mount Everest Academy.
Conkey is currently being held at the Las Colinas Detention Facility on $1 million bail.
Prosecutors said the gun, which was registered to Conkey under her maiden name, was not loaded but ammunition was discovered by police at her home in Bonita.
Conkey is facing more than 23 years in prison.
Conkey is a former intern and freelance digital producer for NBC 7. She is also an SDSU graduate and was in the U.S Navy.
Minutes before the incident, an email was sent to NBC 7 from an account with the name "Anna Conkey." The email was sent as a news tip.
"There’s a woman claiming to be the messiah, saying she was sent to blow up the foundation of the Church—she’s got a gun and a child is involved. Address is 4350 Mount Everest Blvd San Diego, CA 92117. There’s about 70 people in the auditorium of the school where the church service is held," the message said.
Prosecutors said in court Wednesday that Conkey also called 9-1-1 before the incident to report a threat.
Witness David Michael Miller, one of several who disarmed and subdued Conkey until police arrived, said Conkey pointed the gun at the congregation, at herself and at her baby as he and others approached her.
"She was being very apprehensive, pointing the gun at them, pointing the gun at her baby, saying 'Don't come closer, don't come any closer,'" Miller, a member of the U.S Army, said.
No shots were fired, and Conkey or her 10-month-old child were not injured. Prosecutors said the children are now with family.
SDPD said officers arrived at the auditorium within two minutes of the initial emergency call and took Conkey into custody. Police confirmed the gun she had was not loaded. During their investigation, police used bomb-sniffing dogs to search the school.
Conkey's baby was taken into protective custody after the incident, as was her along 5-year-old who was at another location at the time of the incident.
Tsidkenu Church head pastor Benjamin Wisan said Conkey was speaking random words which were confusing to him. Another witness described her comments as "delusional."
According to Wisan, Conkey had to be removed from a service a week earlier.
Linda Grace, one of Conkey's neighbors, told NBC 7 the incident was unexpected and out of character.
"I don't know why. I saw her this morning. Why didn't she give me the baby or ask me for help or ask me to go with her or something. She just said she was going to church," Grace said.
Grace also called Conkey a wonderful mother and said she loves her baby.
A cousin of Conkey's told NBC 7 that some of her recent postings on YouTube and social media were a cause for concern.
"I've been experiencing the rapture since January 12th," Conkey said in video posted on the YouTube channel "Heavenly Frequency" just hours before the incident. "If you think just following a holy text is going to save you, you're wrong. Because prophecy is gonna be fulfilled."
Conkey is scheduled to be back in court on May 3.