Grand Rapids church closes after list of targets found in Dearborn Heights yard

List of targets include religious locations, including a mosque

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ® , Dane Kelly

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - A statewide investigation in ongoing after a threat on a Grand Rapids church was found in Dearborn Heights.

Westminster Presbyterian Church  closed its offices and cancelled some services Tuesday after the threat was discovered on the other side of the state.

A Dearborn Heights man discovered a suspicious package in his yard Monday. It was a toiletries bag containing an unloaded handgun and a map with multiple addresses circled with the word "target" written on it. The list of addresses included multiple religious locations, including a mosque. One of the addresses was the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

"Somebody put this stuff into a bag to create the impression that a threat exists," said Grand Rapids Police Lt. Pat Merrill. "Now the question is how valid is it and we're gonna work that."

While the police informed the church that they weren't in any immediate danger, they still decided to close the Westminster Child Development Center, Downtown Food Pantry, Open Door Ministry and offices for the day.

"We are always mindful of a balance between hospitality and security," the church said in a Facebook post. "We are steadfast in our commitment to creating a hospitable and gracious environment for our city and neighbors, while doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff and daycare families."

"You don't want to hear your home on a map somewhere circled saying target here," Merrill said. "That's not something you want to see when you wake up in the morning and this church doesn't want to face that either."

The church is expected to open tomorrow.

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