Phoenix priest called a hero for helping stabbed woman

| April 16, 2010

The daughter of a Phoenix parish worker stabbed at her church Thursday morning says a priest sacrificed his own safety to save her mother.

"The attacker went for her first," said Darlene Rodriguez, whose mother suffered wounds to her stomach, chest and arms. "But the priest pushed him away and fell on top of her to protect her from being stabbed."

Both priest and parishioner lay in stable condition at Maricopa Medical Center Thursday evening as the man accused of attacking them sat in jail on aggravated assault charges, officials said.

Parish coordinator Annie Conway, 66, was unlocking a gate at Sacred Heart Parish near 12th Street and Buckeye about 8:30 a.m. when a man came up and started stabbing her, demanding his baptismal records, Phoenix Detective Luis Samudio said.

Father Tim Conlon, 61, a parish priest, saw it happen and ran to her rescue. At the same time, around the corner from the parish, several students in an auto-body class at Maricopa Skill Center heard her screams over the noise of their equipment and ran to the scene, Samudio said.

Conlon suffered stab wounds to his arm and back before the students scared the attacker off and chased him to Carolina's Mexican Restaurant, where they detained him until police arrived.

Carlos Miguel Manriquez, 50, whom some parish employees said they see often, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated assault, Samudio said.

Rodriguez was working nursing shift at Maricopa Medical Center when her mom called her from the scene shortly after the attack. At Conway's request, paramedics took her and Conlon, both in serious condition, to the trauma center there, where they were treated and stabilized.

Rodriguez, who expects her mom to be released within the week, said she feels very grateful for all the heroes and helpers that saved her mother.

"It could have been worse, but I thank God it turned out that she's going to be okay," she said.

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Category: Church Security

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