Greenfield man denies bringing gun to church
Greenfield Police now know the identity of a suspicious man who walked into a church and snapped a picture, all while reportedly carrying a gun. It prompted a school lockdown earlier this week.
After seeing our story on social media, the man turned himself in on Facebook but denies being armed.
"If it was something innocent, come forward and say, 'I was just there, I took a picture for some other reason.' It's the unknown that's scary," said a concerned parent in a story Eyewitness News reported on Monday.
Twenty-four hours later, Deanna Wesley's words prompted a Facebook posting from a man with a surprising twist.
"Ok people...It was me..but no gun only a phone and my coffee," he wrote.
His name is John Lagle. He says he's the man who walked into St. Michael's Catholic Church during Sunday communion, stood in the entry of the sanctuary, snapped a picture, and then walked out. According to witnesses he put a gun in his pocket.
The reported incident so unnerved school officials an alert was sent to parents and St. Michael was put on lockdown Monday.
But Lagle denies he was armed.
A viewer who saw his post on Facebook and alerted Greenfield Police.
"He said that he wanted to turn his life around. He didn't mean any harm to anybody," said Major Derek Towle with Greenfield Police.
Lagle declined an on camera interview, but told me in another Facebook post:
"I was just visiting a friend across the street ..wanted to [hear] the message and was just standing in the door way ..drinking my coffee..not Catholic so I was not comfortable with entering the sanctuary ..admired the cross and took a pic..the usher was two feet from me," Lagle said sharing his recollection of events.
The big question: was he carrying a gun?
"Absolutely not. Coffee and a phone. Never owned a handgun," he wrote.
Even though anyone with a permit can carry a gun into a church, it's an important distinction for Lagle, who was released from the Indiana Department of Correction ten days prior on a 2012 conviction for theft and receiving stolen property.
He also has three burglary convictions between 2007 and 2008.
Possessing a gun would violate his parole.
"He didn't break any laws by going into the church. We have no reason to disbelieve what he was saying," said Major Towle.
Lagle says he never meant to cause any problems and police believe his story.
St. Michael's School was out for holiday weekend today. Parents tell us they believe the school acted in the best interest of its students.
Neighbors and parents say the church should and does welcome those trying to find their way, but believe there are less suspicious ways to go about it.