STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BLANCO — A man wanted for threatening to “kill Catholics” turned himself in to authorities July 9 after police released a photo of the suspect captured on a cellphone by a parishioner during the suspect’s tirade at the church, according to the Blanco Police Department.
Martin Joey Eng, 58, is accused of terrorizing congregants at about 5:30 p.m. July 7 at St. Ferdinand’s Catholic Church, 25 Main St.
Eng, considered a transient, who works construction jobs in the Blanco area, was not affiliated with the church nor did he know any of its members, the report stated.
“He walked in (about 30 to 40 minutes into the Mass), sat down for a couple of minutes in a pew towards the front, stood up, and made his outburst,” Blanco Police Detective Ben Ablon said. “He made a statement about all Catholics ‘going to hell.’
“He said, ‘You just wait, and I’ll make sure you get there,’” Ablon added.
“Another witness made a statement that he said, ‘All the Catholics need to die.’”
Some of the male parishioners escorted him out, locked the door, and called 911, according to the report.
“He was gone before (law enforcement) responded,” Ablon said. “Someone took an image of him with a cellphone.”
The witness shared the image with investigators, and a patrol officer recognized the man due to an incident involving the suspect in May.
Investigators circulated a public bulletin asking for the suspect’s whereabouts.
“Someone who knows him saw the press release, made the phone call, and took him to the police station, where he surrendered without any problems,” Ablon said.
Eng’s charge, Class A misdemeanor terrorististic threat, has been referred to the Blanco County Attorney’s Office.
As of July 10, Eng remained at the Blanco County Jail on a $2,500 bond.