Police released a composite sketch Saturday of a suspect in the assault of a Catholic priest by a man who brandished a gun after requesting confession.
The priest was injured, treated in a hospital and is recovering at home, according to the Rocky River Police Department.
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is warning priests to be on the lookout for an attacker.
Police advised clergy in the Cleveland metropolitan area to be aware of their personal safety and aware of practical crime prevention methods. They also stated clergy should pay special attention to anyone matching the description of the suspect and should notify local police immediately if they see anyone who looks like him.
After the suspect asked for confession on June 11, he brandished a handgun and the assault took place, according to authorities.
Multiple sources told newsnet5.com the assault took place at St. Christopher Catholic Church on Detroit Road in Rocky River.
Police said the suspect was described as a white man, likely in his late 20s, with pale skin and jet-black, shoulder-length hair that was parted in the center. His hair color was described as unnatural and likely dyed. He wore a pierced, silver, hoop earring in his left nostril, black "skinny" jeans, and black canvas shoes with white trim. The suspect was also depicted as having a tattoo of a cross that flared at each end, located on the inside of his left forearm.
The handgun he brandished was described as a small pistol that was likely a semi-automatic.
Authorities say anyone with information on this case should contact the Rocky River Police, Det. Garth Selong at (440) 799-8352 or Lt. Bill Crates at (440) 331-1234, ext. 2153.
The Diocese said it is working with all law enforcement agencies in the crime's investigation.
The Diocese further said in a statement released on Friday:
We ask that the privacy of the victim and parish be respected. We also ask for prayers for the victim and the parish.
Below is a memo to priests from Bishop Lennon: