MELBOURNE, Fla. — A gunman who battered a priest at a Melbourne church early Sunday morning and barricaded himself at the church has been taken into custody, according to police.

What You Need To Know

  • Police asked public to avoid Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church

  • People inside the church were able to escape

  • Authorities have not yet charged him with a crime

Authorities stated that the 45-year-old man was taken into custody by the SWAT team without any injuries to him or to law enforcement. He has not yet been charged with a crime, police stated.

Mark Patrick Soliman, who brandished a gun, was at the Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church on 1653 Guava Ave. early Sunday morning after a “disturbance turned violent” and he allegedly battered one of the priests, stated the Melbourne Police Department in a news release.

Officers arrived at the church at around 7:45 a.m. and were able to distract Soliman long enough for church members to escape, stated authorities.

The man barricaded himself just outside of the church’s front door and threatened to kill himself, stated authorities.

The police asked the public to avoid the area as SWAT members were negotiating with Soliman.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Melbourne Police Department at 1-321-608-6731 or call the Crime Line at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).