Man damaged Pilsen church after trying to get inside

Rev. Emma Lozano said the man targeted Lincoln United Methodist Church because of its pro-immigrant stance.

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Lincoln United Methodist Church leaders are concerned that a man who reportedly tried to force his way into the church Tuesday is the latest targeted attack against the Pilsen church.

About 1:28 p.m., officers responded to reports of a burglary that had just occurred in the 2200 block of South Damen Avenue, Chicago police said. Lincoln United Methodist Church is located at 2242 S. Damen Ave.

Witnesses told officers that a man came to the front of the church and tried to get inside, police said. The man then kicked the glass doors, damaging them before running off in an unknown direction. 

The man is described as 30 to 35 years old, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 180 pounds, police said.

At a news conference, Rev. Emma Lozano said she believed the man attacked the church because of a confrontation that occurred outside the church on Sept. 23 between members and conservative activists, which garnered attention online.

“They have said I am organizing the invasion, how I hate America, how I’m not a real American or a real pastor and that I’m bringing in people that are murderers or [part of] cartels,” Lozano said. “Those are things that put targets on our backs.” 

At the news conference, Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor, said she followed the the man to an alley after he kicked the doors.

“He said you can’t touch me, the police work for me,” Garcia said.

She said she was able to take photos of the man during the confrontation before he left the area.

Garcia said the man was antagonizing people and did a nazi salute.

“If we’re being targeted, Pilsen must stand together,” Lozano said.

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