Police in San Diego have identified the woman accused of walking into a school auditorium with a baby and a weapon and threatening churchgoers attending an Easter service there.
She was identified as Anna Conkey, 31, a former intern and freelance digital producer for NBC 7, police said. Conkey is a graduate of San Diego State University and was in the U.S Navy.
Police said Conkey walked into the auditorium of the Mount Everest Academy Sunday afternoon in Clairemont, where a non-denominational church was having an Easter Day service, and began making threats.
Conkey was tackled by parishioners and held until police arrived.
The church’s head pastor, Benjamin Wisan, said the woman seemed very agitated and frustrated and “not in her right mind.”
“This girl came through the back of the stage. She had a baby and a gun,” Wisan said.
The pastor instructed the congregation to stand up and leave the auditorium.
He said the woman wanted to be heard but she spoke random words which were confusing to him.
As he got her attention, he said some ushers and church members came from behind and grabbed her to remove the weapon.
Police said members of the church tackled Conkey, disarmed her and held her until police arrived.
“Because of some quick-thinking parishioners here at the scene she was quickly subdued before anything really bad could happen,” SDPD Lt. Christian Sharp said.
No shots were fired during the incident.
The 31-year-old woman was taken into custody by SDPD. Her 10-month old baby was taken into protective custody along with her 5-year-old who was at another location during the incident.
Conkey faces charges including, making criminal threats and displaying a handgun in a threatening manner.
NBC 7 spoke with David Michael Miller, a member of the U.S Army, who was one of the men who tackled the woman.
“I was slowly approaching watching them talk her down. She was being very apprehensive pointing the gun at them pointing the gun at her baby saying don’t come any closer,” Miller said.
Lt. Sharp said, that as far as he was aware only one weapon was recovered in the incident. He did not have details on what kind of handgun was used.
During their investigation, police used bomb-sniffing dogs to search the school. There were approximately 100 witnesses to interview, which was expected to take several hours, Sharp said.
“God divinely protected everyone and then we were able to get the gun away and the baby away and the police came and we were all good,” Wisan said.
An email was sent to NBC 7 five minutes before the incident from an account with the name “Anna Conkey.” The email was sent as a news tip.
“There’s a woman claiming to be the Messiah, saying she was sent to blow up the foundation of the Church—she’s got a gun and a child is involved. The address is 4350 Mount Everest Blvd San Diego, CA 92117. There are about 70 people in the auditorium of the school where the church service is held”
Wisan said he recognized Conkey as someone who has attended the church before and said the church “had some problems with her.”
Lt. Sharp said there may have been a previous incident involving Conkey with the church.
Police swarmed Conkey’s home in Bonita and served a search warrant to enter the home late Sunday night.
Conkey’s neighbors were surprised to hear about the incident at the church.
“This is so unexpected, so unbelievable and so not like her. I could never have imagined this, ever,” said Linda Grace, a neighbor.
A neighbor said Conkey’s husband is serving in the U.S. Navy and is on deployment on the East Coast.