Initial investigations into the murder of a priest at the Cathedral of Santiago, Chile, are pointing to Satanism as the motive behind the gruesome act in which a young man attacked the priest at the end of Mass, leaving him decapitated and with dozens of stab wounds.
74 year-old Father Faustino Gazziero D’Estefani of the Servants of Mary had just finished celebrating Mass at the Cathedral on Saturday afternoon when he was met in the sacristy by a 24 year-old man, dressed completely in black, who decapitated the priest and then inflicted numerous wounds upon himself.
According to parishioners who were at the Cathedral, before attacking the priest, the man shouted out blasphemies against God and the Church.
“The first thing I heard was a heartbreaking shriek over the loudspeaker and I ran forward thinking the priest had fallen or had suffered a heart attack, and I found him in a pool of blood and with the young man kneeling down, covered in blood and cutting himself on the face,” said a witness.
Police officers confirmed that only one person was detained and identified him as Rodrigo Enrique Orias Gallardo. First reports indicated he did not have a criminal history but unofficial sources confirmed he belonged to a satanic sect in the country.
The suspect was transferred to a local hospital to receive treatment for lacerations of the trachea, but police said his condition was stable.
According to police chief Hector Henriquez, Orias Gallardo did not show signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago Cristian Contreras expressed his grief at the tragic death of the priest, but he said that he did not “want to say anything else that might distract us from this painful and sad act which has us all profoundly distressed.”