Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Mentally ill man assaults churchgoers in Oregon


A man ranting about "the blood" burst into a church sanctuary during a service, sloshed fuel onto people and started a fire, police and church officials said.

Congregants managed to subdue the man, later identified as Kam Shing Chan, 53, during the incident on Thursday. Also known as Daniel Chan, he had spent five years in a psychiatric hospital after being convicted in 1990 of killing his daughter, records show.

Parishioners were able to smother the flames with their coats, said the Reverend Scott Erickson, pastor of the Peoples Church. Two older women were burned when their clothing caught fire.

"He ... was yelling things about the blood, and then he began to sprinkle the fluid and light it," Erickson said. "He was making slurs about things that are most precious to us."

The man ran down the aisle but was caught when Laverne Marks, 65, stuck out her foot and tripped him, said Erickson, who wasn't inside the church at the time but spoke to members.

No one in the church had ever seen Chan before, the pastor said.

Chan was being held on Thursday on charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted assault, arson and reckless burning, prosecutors said. He was to appear in court yesterday.

Chan was released from the Oregon State Hospital to a halfway house in 1995, five years after being found guilty but insane in the murder of his five-year-old daughter, Cindy, state records show.

He also kidnapped a neighbor and robbed the grocery store where he worked.

Mental health experts testified at his trial that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

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