Suspect attacked elderly man at church, yelled 'anti-Catholic rhetoric,' police say

Witness who intervened punched, kicked


SAN ANTONIO – An elderly man was punched and knocked into a pew at a downtown church earlier this month by a man who yelled "anti-Catholic" rhetoric, records show.

Derrick Wolford, 33, is accused of entering St. Joseph's Catholic Church at 623 E. Commerce St. on Oct. 10 and destroying items, assaulting an 81-year-old man and then attacking a witness, according to his arrest affidavit.

The elderly man said he "was worshipping (at) the church when the silence was broken by the defendant coming in yelling obscenities" and damaging property, the affidavit states.

Video footage inside the church shows the suspect hitting the victim in the face with his fists and knocking him into a pew, throwing off the man's glasses. 

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The victim told police Thursday he still had pain in his jaw, cheek and neck, and that his left eye was swollen.

A witness testified that he intervened when the suspect allegedly began to destroy a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe but was assaulted in the church.

The witness then followed Wolford out of the church, the affidavit states, but was charged at, punched and kicked by the suspect before people intervened.

While Wolford was being detained, he uttered "anti-Catholic rhetoric and that the voices were telling him to destroy Catholic property and to assault Catholics as well," the affidavit states.

His bond is set at $30,000, jail records show.