SALEM, Ore. — A man accused of sloshing fuel on pews and parishioners during a church service and starting fires intended to kill everyone in the building, investigators say.
Kam Shing Chan is charged with attempted aggravated murder, attempted assault, arson and reckless burning. A judge denied bail Friday, saying Chan would be a danger to the community.
Witnesses said Chan burst into the Peoples Church on Wednesday ranting about “the blood,” sloshed fuel around and started fires. Two women were burned when their clothing caught fire. Members of the congregation caught him.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office released documents Friday that said Chan “admitted that he took gas cans and a knife to the Peoples Church with the intent of killing all the people in the church.”
Darin Tweedt, a Marion County prosecutor, said the investigation is still underway.
Served time for killing daughter
State records show that Chan, 53, spent five years at Oregon State Hospital for the murder of his 5-year-old daughter in 1989. He was committed after being ruled criminally insane.
Trial testimony indicated Chan thought he was acting on God’s orders. Mental health experts testified he had paranoid schizophrenia.
The state approved Chan’s conditional release in 1995, said board executive director Mary Claire Buckley. Chan lived in Salem in a supervised facility for a year and moved into the community after the board reviewed his case.
“They had no reason to expect he’d engage in that kind of behavior,” Buckley said. “No system is perfect.”
A judge denied bail on Friday for a man accused of bursting into a church, sloshing fuel on parishioners and setting a fire.
State records show the suspect — Kam Shing Chan, also known as Daniel Chan — had spent five years at Oregon State Hospital for the murder of his young daughter.
Called a danger to community
Chan appeared in court Friday where a Marion County circuit judge denied him release on bail, saying he would be a danger to the community. Chan wore a green jumper used for prisoners who show potential for suicide. He was not asked to speak and did not address the court.
Chan, 53, of Salem, is held on charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted assault and arson. A grand jury is expected to issue an indictment by next week. Chan is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 7.
Witnesses said Chan burst into the church on Wednesday evening ranting about "the blood," running down the aisle pursued by men from the congregation.
Laverne Marks, 65, stuck out her foot and tripped him, the Rev. Scott Erickson, pastor of the Peoples Church, reported.
Two older women were injured, and the man was subdued and arrested.
Erickson's assistant, the Rev. Sam Miller, was conducting the service from the front of the church. He said no one in the church had ever seen the man before.
"We think it's someone who was mentally deranged," he said.
Prosecutors said Thursday that Chan was released from the Oregon State Hospital to a halfway house in 1995, five years after being found guilty but insane in the murder of his 5-year-old daughter, Cindy, who was drowned in a bathtub.
He also kidnapped a neighbor and robbed the grocery store where he worked.
Trial testimony indicated Chan thought he was acting under God's orders. Mental health experts testified he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Until his alleged role in the church fire he had not violated conditions of his release, a state official said.
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