A New Jersey man has been indicted on 15 charges, including throwing smoke bombs at an anti-racism event organized by a New Jersey church back in January.
The event was hosted by Trinity Episcopal Parish of Asbury Park, where 28-year-old Nicholas G. Mucci of Toms River allegedly attacked attendees at an anti-racism concert hosted by the church. Mucci also vandalized church property.
According to New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Justice, Mucci was indicted on 15 charges, including aggravated arson, two counts of causing or risking widespread injury or damage, two counts of possession of a destructive device, unlawful possession of a weapon, two counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats, possession of a firearm, possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, and hindering.
“The rich diversity of cultures, religions, and ideals in New Jersey is one of our state’s greatest strengths and what had brought celebrants to Trinity Parish at the time of the alleged attack,” First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo said in a statement. “This indictment demonstrates our commitment to protecting all members of our community and enforcing the rights of all New Jerseyans to live free from the threat of violence and fear.”
Towards the end of the concert, organized by the social justice advocacy organization the One People’s Project, Mucci, who was wearing a mask, threw smoke bombs at the crowd while shouting “White lives matter” before driving off. He later returned and attempted to pepper spray several concert attendees still at the church, The Christian Post reports.
Additionally, an unknown party vandalized an LGBT Pride flag positioned next to the church’s sign. The flag had previously been vandalized several times in the past.
In March, authorities with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the DCJ and state police, with assistance from the FBI, placed Mucci under arrest.
At the time, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin contended that his state “is, and always will be, a state that values the rich diversity of all cultures, religions and ideals.”
“This attack targeted people exercising their freedom of expression as they left a house of worship,” Platkin said in a statement. “Our perseverance in investigating and bringing to justice the person responsible for this attack demonstrates our commitment to protecting the rights of all New Jerseyans to live free from the threat of violence and fear.”
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.