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Church leaders forgive suspect who trashed sanctuary

Published On: Jan 16 2013 08:48:52 PM CST
church vandalism pic

Spokane sheriff deputies have arrested Joseph Knop, who now stands accused of causing thousands of dollars worth in damage at the Lake City Assembly of God last weekend.

Knop was arrested at his home in Medical Lake Tuesday night.

Deputies say Knop, 23, admitted he caused the damage to the church located in Medical Lake. Additionally, several items stolen from the church were found inside his home.

Meanwhile, in the last three days an army of volunteers have worked feverishly to clean up the house of worship.

"It's been amazing how much love was poured out toward us," pastor Dennis Noble said.

The damage done was extensive. A dozen doors were kicked in, windows smashed, musical instruments doused with soda.

"The sanctuary was just trashed; there was glass all over," Noble said.

But, Noble added, the vandalism isn't stopping the church from carrying on with its mission.

"It's not going to stop us; we are having service in the gym this week," Noble said.

Pastor Noble said that he forgives the suspect who did all the damage to the church, saying that, "we are interested in him, we want to see his life change."

Knop admitted to the crime, adding that he attended the church as a young boy.  So why did he come back and trash the church?

"He said he was angry with some issues, so he just came here high on drugs and decided to take it out on God," Noble said.

Tuesday night Knop told one of the church pastors he intended to burn the place down Saturday night and then kill himself.

"That would have been the tragedy of all tragedies, doors are easily replaced, carpet is replaced, his life isn't," Noble said.

Knop made his first appearance in court Wednesday. His bond was set at $10,000 and will make his next court appearance in two weeks.