Andrew Johnson

Suspect Arrested for Making ‘Credible Threat' Against Chula Vista Church, School Cancels Classes

A man was arrested in connection to a "credible phone threat" made to a Chula Vista church Wednesday, forcing the parish to close and a school next door to cancel classes Thursday.

The suspect called the St. Rose of Lima Church's office Tuesday around 12:30 p.m. making claims that he would harm individuals at a special mass Thursday, according to the Chula Vista Police Department.

The church immediately reported the threat to the police department and the Catholic Diocese.

Thomas Escajeda, identified as the suspect behind the phone threat, was taken into custody Wednesday around 11:45 a.m., police said.

Escajeda, 61, has been a regular participant at the Chula Vista church for more than a year, according to CVPD.

He faces charges of making criminal threats. His bail was set at $100,000, CVPD said. 

Thursday is All Saints Day, a Christian holiday that celebrates the saints held on November 1 each year. A special mass typically draws a large crowd. 

In a letter sent out to families, Principal Jeff Saavedra said the church's All Saints Day Mass and the classes that followed would be canceled.

The church and school said it will hire security "for the near future." Saavedra said they may also be looking for a more permanent option.

Classes are set to resume Friday at its regular time.

The All Saints Day Mass is now scheduled for Nov. 6 at 9 a.m.

No other information was available at this time.

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