Guard stabbed, 2nd guard struck by car at National Shrine in Northeast DC; suspect arrested

Two security guards were injured in an attack Tuesday at the National Shrine that ended in a barricade situation in the Brightwood neighborhood. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Two security guards are in the hospital after police say a man tried to run one down with his vehicle and then stabbed another Tuesday morning at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C.

Dorsey Lee Mack III, 48, who knew at least one of the security guards, was tracked down to a home in Northwest D.C. where he had barricaded himself, but he was arrested a few hours later, police said.

Both security officers are expected to recover from their injuries.

The turn of events began in the parking lot of the National Shrine around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, when Mack struck a female security guard with his vehicle, pinning her between his vehicle and other vehicles and trying to run her over, according to police and officials with the National Shrine.

When another security guard went to confront Mack, he was chased into the lower crypt-level of the basilica and stabbed. The security guard was stabbed multiple times, Assistant D.C. Police Chief Jeffery Carroll told reporters earlier in the day.

Both security guards were taken to the hospital where they were in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Jackie Hayes, the spokeswoman for the shrine.

Monsignor Walter Rossi, the National Shrine’s rector, also gave a statement and provided additional details of the attack during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“Both security staff members are extremely dedicated to us,” Rossie said. “They are quite personable to our staff and guests alike, and this incident has been quite upsetting for everyone here at the National Shrine. Our prayers are with both staff members as they recover from their injuries.”

Before giving his statement, Rossi visited both guards in the hospital where he said he prayed with them. Citing privacy, Rossi said he would not be identifying the two guards.

The National Shrine, the largest Catholic church in the U.S., employs a total of about 50 security guards, but they do not carry guns, Rossi said.

For the past several months, the shrine has been looking at updating its security practices, Rossi added, and he called Tuesday’s violence “unfortunate timing.”

Rossi said there is no indication the shrine itself, or any guests, were targeted in the attack. Police earlier said they believed it to be a domestic-related incident.

Even after the attack on the two guards, Rossi said the shrine is “open to welcome those who seek to worship and pray in this sacred space.”

A scheduled 12:10 p.m. mass went on as scheduled Tuesday, the shrine’s spokeswoman said. Before the mass, Rossi prayed with staff members, she said.

“He not only prayed for our security guards who were victims, but he also prayed for the perpetrator. That is who we are here at the Basilica,” Hayes told reporters, choking back tears.

After the attack at the shrine, police found the Mack’s vehicle about a 15-minute drive away, near Georgia Avenue and Sheridan Street in the Brightwood neighborhood of Northwest D.C.

Police said Mack had already fled the vehicle and barricaded himself inside a nearby home. He was arrested about two hours later and was taken to a hospital for minor injuries.

WTOP’s Joan Muwahed contributed to this report.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up