NEWARK, NJ --Authorities, parishioners and clergy are seeking answers after a man walked up to the altar during Catholic Mass and punched an auxiliary bishop in the mouth.
A man dressed in white with a matching hat meandered toward the altar Saturday at Newark's Sacred Heart Cathedral and swung at Bishop Manuel Cruz, punching him in the mouth and knocking him to the ground. Police tackled the man and took him into custody.
Mark Bonamo was at Mass when it happened. He said he remembers watching the man step out of a middle pew where he had been sitting alone.
"It was a very shocking and horrific moment," Bonamo said.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark released a statement about the incident:
"We certainly were surprised and saddened by it, and are thankful that things were not worse than they turned out to be."
The suspect, Charles Miller, has been charged with aggravated assault. The motive of the attack remains unclear.