A Jamaica Plain woman is facing multiple charges after allegedly going on a rampage at a Mission Hill church in January and destroying priceless artifacts and assaulting parishioners and a police officer.
Henrietta Egbuonu, 26, was arraigned Friday in West Roxbury District Court on multiple charges stemming from the incident. She was released on her own recognizance despite prosecutors’ request that she be held on $1,000 bail, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.
Prosecutors allege Egbuono walked into Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, also known as the Mission Church of Boston, on Jan. 2 and began throwing statues at parishioners. When police responded, prosecutors said, they found her in the church’s center aisle “brandishing a three-foot tall statue,” which she threw at an officer’s arm.
Jake Wark a spokesman for Conley’s office, said it was unclear how Egbuono ended up in the church or why she began assaulting churchgoers and destroying the priceless statues.
According to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Raymond Collins, Egbuono had first shown up at the house of worship several weeks before and shouted in the middle of Mass, but she later apologized to Collins for the outburst.
“People who are, you know, in the streets and looking for a place to feel comfortable have a way of finding churches,” Collins said. “It’s a risk that comes with the territory.”
No one was seriously injured during the tumult, Conley’s office said. Even so, prosecutors allege Egbuonu destroyed multiple antique religious statues.
Collins said several statues were destroyed but the only one that needed to be replaced was a statue of the Virgin Mary. He said the replacement arrived Friday, and that several of the other statues were able to be repaired.
“You can’t do a great Christmas nativity scene without the Mary statue,” said Collins.
Police apprehended Egbuono at the scene and brought her to Boston Medical Center for a mental health evaluation, where doctors recommended she undergo inpatient treatment, Wark said.
Egbuono faces charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon -- a statue -- assault and battery on a police officer, malicious destruction of property over $250, and causing injury to a church over $5,000, prosecutors said.
A contact number for Egbuono could not be located Friday night and a number listed for her attorney James Stanton was not in service.
She is due back in court Nov. 15, prosecutors said.
Meanwhile, Collins said he’s just happy he has his statue of Mary back.
“We will be ready for Christmas,” he said.
Nicholas Jacques can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.