Woman who left rifle at Holy Trinity charged with criminal trespass

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An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on a bench rest. Shutterstock photo.
An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on a bench rest. Shutterstock photo.

A Fayette County woman who was issued a criminal trespass warning after leaving an “AR-15-style rifle” at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City on Feb. 1 was arrested on Feb. 14 for criminal trespass after returning to the church.

Forty-year-old Raquel Mendez, of unincorporated central Fayette, was charged with criminal trespass, according to Peachtree City police reports.

Mendez had been issued a criminal trespass warning after the Feb. 1 incident and had been told she would be charged with criminal trespass if she returned to the church, said Peachtree City Police Department spokesman Chris Hyatt, adding that she was arrested Feb. 14 without incident.

During the afternoon hours of Feb. 1, officers of the Peachtree City Police Department responded to the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Walt Banks Road in reference to a rifle that was located on the premises by a church member. The “AR-15-style rifle” was located concealed underneath a jacket in the chapel, according to the police incident report.

Hyatt at the time said investigators worked diligently through the night and were able to locate the owner of the rifle.

“Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that a female who suffers from mental illness and diminished mental capacity resides with the owner of the firearm and was responsible for leaving the rifle at the church,” said Hyatt.

“She informed investigators that she was uncomfortable with the rifle in the home, so she discarded the rifle at a location where she believed it would be handled safely,” Hyatt said.  “It was determined that this individual has a pattern of similar behavior in the past with other various items that she had removed from the home. Investigators found no indication that she intended to use the rifle or participate in any sort of violent activity.”

4 COMMENTS

    • THAT was your takeaway from this incident? Not the fact that a person left a potentially deadly weapon ignorantly and stupidly abandoned in a church where anyone (including a kid) could have used this to harm someone?

      The firearm should have been surrendered at a police station or even a gun shop.

      How about we remove our head from our bum for a change and let’s separate beliefS from reality for just a minute. She wasn’t arrested for going to church, it was Criminal Treaspass, she concealed a deadly firearm (assuming without a carry permit) and left it behind without informing someone.