Woman arrested in Des Moines church attack
At 11:05 a.m., police responded to St. Augustin Catholic Church, 545 42nd St., where a woman in the church sanctuary assaulted the deacon, Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said. The deacon, 89-year-old Joseph Coan, of West Des Moines, suffered lacerations to his hands and face.
Police quickly located the woman in the 4300 block of Ingersoll Avenue, where she was taken into custody, Parizek said. Police scanner traffic indicated she was armed with a butcher knife.
The suspect, Ashley Eckhardt, 31, of Des Moines, was charged with willful injury, a class C felony.
In a statement to The Des Moines Register, "a seemingly deranged woman attacked one of our deacons with a knife in the chapel," according to St. Augustin's.
Coan was brought to Mercy Medical Center for treatment, according to the church.
Bishop Richard Pates with the Diocese of Des Moines said Coan will require surgery on his hands, but "apart from that, he is doing well," Pates said.
"He is thankful for everyone’s support and appreciates everyone’s prayers," Pates said.
The investigation is ongoing, Parizek said.