‘Major Tragedy Prevented': Franklin Park Police Charge Armed Man Found Hiding in Church Basement

"Because of our officers [sic] quick and decisive actions we believe that a major tragedy was prevented," police said in a release

Police believe a "major tragedy was prevented" when they arrested an armed man hiding in a suburban church's basement this week. 

Authorities said officers were called to St. Gertrude Church in Franklin Park to check for a man who had been texting and communicating with a family member on social media making that person "concerned for his wellbeing." 

Once there, they noticed a door was forced open at the church and they began searching, authorities said.

James Orwick, 28, was found hiding in a closet in the basement of the church "possessing multiple firearms in his waist band," police said in a release. He was told not to move and to show his hands, but when he motioned toward his waist, officers deployed a Taser, knocking him to the ground, according to Michael Witz, director of Franklin Park police. 

"While this was taking place three females had entered the church to clean up and place flowers," police said in their release. 

Witz said Orwick traveled from South Dakota, where his lives, to Hoffman Estates, where he left his pickup truck and traveled to Franklin Park. Police said they found two additional weapons in his pickup truck in Hoffman Estates. 

It remains unclear what exactly Orwick had planned to do at the church, but police said that "from his text messages and social media messaging Mr. Orwick may have been a danger to our community and himself." 

"Because of our officers [sic] quick and decisive actions we believe that a major tragedy was prevented," Witz said in the release. 

St. Gertrude Parish said in a statement Orwick has "no affiliation" with the chuch.

"There were no parishioners or church staff in the church at the time. We are cooperating with Franklin Park Police who are further investigating the matter," the church said in a statement. 

Orwick was charged with three counts of felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of felony resisting a peace officer and one count of felony criminal damage to property. He faces between one and three years in prison per count, police said. 

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