A 34-year-old man was charged Friday with attacking a priest and police in a Catholic church in Orange.

Marco Antonio Ortizrabadan is facing six counts of assault with a deadly weapon, five counts each of assault with caustic chemicals and resisting arrest and one count of burglary, all felonies.

He is also charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and single counts each of harming a police dog and being under the influence of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors, and  multiple sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

About 4 p.m. Wednesday, police were called about a suspect in St. John Maron Maronite Catholic Church at 300 S. Flower St., said Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.

Ortizrabadan was accused of stealing wine at the church, and when he was confronted about it, he grew “argumentative” and “threatened a priest,” holding up the wine bottle “like he was going to hit him,” McMullin alleged.

The victims locked themselves in the church and called police, and when officers arrived the suspect “wouldn’t listen to their commands and held the gas can up with a lighter in his other hand and then started bringing the wine bottle out of his pocket,” McMullin said.

When a police dog was released, the defendant threw gas on the canine and doused some of the officers with the fuel, McMullin alleged.

Police subdued him with a baton strike and the dog bit him as well, the sergeant said.

Ortizrabadan pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana and was ordered to return to court Oct. 9 for a pretrial hearing at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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