San Diego

Woman Identified in Threat Made to Parishioners at Mount Everest Academy

Parishioners were able to tackle the woman and get the weapon away from her without anyone being injured, police said.

The San Diego Police Department has identified the woman who is accused of walking into an Easter Day service in Clairemont with a baby and a weapon on Sunday.

She is being identified as Anna Conkey, 31, former intern and freelance digital producer for NBC 7. Conkey is also an SDSU graduate and was in the U.S Navy.

Police said Conkey walked into the auditorium of the Mount Everest Academy Sunday afternoon, where a non-denominational church was having an Easter Day service, and began making threats.

According to police, Conkey walked onto the stage and made threats that she was going to blow up the church while she waved a handgun. 

The church's head pastor, Benjamin Wisan, said the woman seemed very agitated and frustrated and "not in her right mind."

"This girl came through the back of the stage. She had a baby and a gun," Wisan said. 

The pastor instructed the congregation to stand up and leave the auditorium.

He said the woman wanted to be heard but she spoke random words which were confusing to him.

As he got her attention, he said some ushers and church members came from behind and grabbed her to remove the weapon. 

Police said members of the church tackled Conkey, disarmed her and held her until police arrived. 

"Because of some quick-thinking parishioners here at the scene she was quickly subdued before anything really bad could happen," SDPD Lt. Christian Sharp said.

No shots were fired during the incident.

The 31-year-old woman was taken into custody by SDPD. Her 10-month old baby was taken into protective custody along with her 5-year-old who was at another location during the incident.

Conkey faces charges including, making criminal threats and displaying a handgun in a threatening manner.

NBC 7 spoke with David Michael Miller, a member of the U.S Army, who was one of the men who tackled her.

"I was slowly approaching watching them talk her down. She was being very apprehensive pointing the gun at them pointing the gun at her baby saying don't come any closer," said Miller.

San Diego police confirmed the gun was not loaded.

Lt. Sharp said, that as far as he was aware only one weapon was recovered in the incident. He did not have details on what kind of handgun was used.

During their investigation, police used bomb-sniffing dogs to search the school. There were approximately 100 witnesses to interview, which was expected to take several hours, Sharp said. 

"God divinely protected everyone and then we were able to get the gun away and the baby away and the police came and we were all good," Wisan said.

An email was sent to NBC 7 five minutes before the incident from an account with the name "Anna Conkey." The email was sent as a news tip.

The email read:

"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. The address is 4350 Mount Everest Blvd San Diego, CA 92117. There are about 70 people in the auditorium of the school where the church service is held"

There were about one hundred people inside the church, according to police, when the woman walked in threatening them with a gun. NBC 7's Erika Cervantes has more on what parishioners are saying.

Wisan said he recognized Conkey as someone who has attended the church before and said the church "had some problems with her."

Lt. Sharp said there may have been a previous incident involving Conkey with the church.

Police swarmed Conkey's home in Bonita and served a search warrant to enter the home late Sunday night. 

Conkey's neighbors were surprised to hear about the incident at the church.

"This is so unexpected, so unbelievable and so not like her. I could never have imagined this, ever," said Linda Grace, a neighbor.

A neighbor said Conkey's husband is serving in the U.S. Navy and is on deployment on the East Coast. 

Conkey was booked into San Diego County and was ineligible for bail, according to the San Diego County website. She was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. 

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