Police in Texas arrested a gun-wielding man dressed in tactical-style clothing on Sunday after he told officers he was headed to church to fulfill “a prophecy.”
Tony Dwayne Albert II, 33, was detained and transported to Guadalupe County Jail in Seguin, roughly 50 miles southwest of Austin. He was booked on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana.
Seguin police officers responded to a report of a male carrying what was believed to be a handgun just before 7 a.m. on Sunday, according to a statement from Seguin Police Department spokeswoman Tanya Brown.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found “an oddly dressed male wearing tactical style clothing, a surgical face shield, carrying a loaded firearm and extra ammunition,” according to Brown’s statement. Albert allegedly told police he was en route to an unidentified church to fulfill what he called a prophecy.
“This morning, the Seguin Police Department is extremely grateful to the citizen who called police,” Brown said. “If this subject was not stopped and apprehended the results could have ended differently.”
Albert, who resides in the Houston area, did not elaborate on his “prophecy” statement, Brown told HuffPost.
“We don’t know what he meant,” Brown said. “What ties he has to Seguin, I have no idea yet.”
Albert told police during a preliminary investigation that he was looking for the First Baptist Church in Vidor, some 240 miles away from Seguin, officials said Monday.
“Detectives have also determined that the 9mm Smith and Wesson MP handgun that Tony Albert was carrying ... was stolen from a residence in Vidor,” according to a statement released by the Seguin Police Department on Monday.
“It is unknown at this time if Albert is responsible for the burglary of that home,” the statement continued. “The Vidor Police Department is aware of this information and is conducting a separate investigation into the burglary.”
The FBI, The Texas Ranger Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with Albert’s case.
Albert is serving two years’ probation after pleading no contest to disarming a police officer in Harris County, the San Antonio Express-News reported. He was jailed as of Sunday afternoon under $100,000 bond.
Guadalupe County Attorney David Willborn has suggested Albert face additional charges, reported The New York Times. A grand jury is set to hear Albert’s case in January.
“I do not have any indication that he’s known to have mental illness,” Willbor told the Times. “His behavior indicates that there is certainly cause for concern regarding his mental health.”
A family member of Albert who requested anonymity due to privacy concerns told HuffPost that Albert believes he’s Jesus and that he told family members on Saturday night that he planned to “live in the woods” for several weeks.
They also noted that Albert had previously served in the military for several years. The Marines confirmed to HuffPost that he served from June 2003 to May 2008.
The family member commended Seguin police for de-escalating the situation without violence, saying the officers “did a really good job. It could have gone much worse.”
Public records show Albert owns a company named Angels -N- Demons, LLC, though it’s unclear what industry the business operates in. Albert’s LinkedIn profile lists Angels -N- Demons as a “small business consulting firm.”
Angels -N- Demon’s Twitter and Kickstarter pages describe the company as a food truck. The Twitter page promoted conspiracy theories about President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. It has apparently remained dormant since January 2017.
Brianna Jimenez told the Times that Albert stopped into the Mexican restaurant where she works around 6:30 a.m. Sunday to use the bathroom.
“He asks me ‘Do you know where the nearest Baptist church is at?’” Jimenez said. “He was looking for a church with a fountain in the back. ... It kind of seemed like he was on a mission to go to that church.”
Jimenez said Albert asked for a ride to the nearby church, but she refused. When he turned to leave, she said she saw that he had a gun.
That’s when Jimenez said she and her mother hid in the restaurant kitchen and called the police.
Places of worship have been targeted in three of the worst mass shootings in recent years. In October, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in an apparent hate crime. In November 2017, a gunman slaughtered 25 people and the unborn child of one of the victims at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. And in June 2015, a white supremacist killed nine people at a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
This was a developing story and has been updated throughout.