Breaking News

Kevin Winkle arrested again: Second arrest involves September 5th incident on St. Mary's property

Kevin Thomas Winkle
On Wednesday, 52 year old Kevin Thomas Winkle was arrested for the second time this week for an incident involving bringing guns to St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral and St. Mary's Cathedral School.

On September 12th, a new warrant was issued for the arrest of Winkle out of Potter County for Exhibition, Use, or Threat of Exhibition or Use of Firearms stemming from an incident at St. Mary’s on Wednesday September 5th.

Winkle was located in 8100 block of Progress and taken into custody on his warrant. He is currently being held in the Potter County Detention Center.

On September 13th, officers from the Amarillo Police Department assisted federal agencies in serving a search warrant at Winkle’s residence.

On the morning of Sunday September 9th, an off-duty Amarillo police officer working security at St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral was alerted to a man who was acting suspiciously and making comments to a pastor about the ability to bring firearms into the church. The man was identified as Winkle.

During the 12 pm mass this past Sunday, Winkle attempted to enter the church and was confronted by the off duty officer. Winkle told the officer that he was en route to the church on the St. Mary’s Academy property to work as an usher.

The off-duty officer saw that Winkle had a firearm in a holster on his waist. The officer also located two other firearms and several magazines of ammunition in Winkle’s pockets.

Due to the fact St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral and St. Mary's Cathedral School occupy the same property, Winkle was placed under arrest for Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon in Prohibited Places.

During an inventory of Winkles vehicle, prior to removing it from the property, two rifles with multiple rounds of ammunition were located. The rifles were stored in two separate violin cases.

Winkle was booked into the Potter County Detention Center. He later bonded out of jail.

Staff at St. Mary’s was aware of  Winkle from an incident that occurred on Wednesday September 5th. Winkle showed up that evening for a training to potentially become an usher for the church.

During the September 5th training, Winkle made several alarming comments and displayed a rifle that he was carrying in a violin case along with three handguns that were in his possession. This led the leaders to fear for the safety of their members.

On Monday, Rene Winkle, Kevin's wife, was seen by staff taking photos and video of the church. Amarillo police officers were called to the seen. Rene Winkle was detained and released by officers.

The Winkles have both been served with trespass notices, prohibiting them from returning to church and school grounds.

Church rector Msgr. Michael Colwell issued the following statement about the incident to church parishioners:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Attached you will see a notice regarding an incident that took place in the narthex of the Church last Sunday during the noon Mass. No one was threatened, no gun was drawn, it was shown to our security man and he was immediately escorted out by a police officer we hired.

I want you to know we have all been working tirelessly with the police and other authorities to address this incident. The police do not feel as though he is a continued threat to our church, however, because of the seriousness of this incident, and out of an abundance of prudence and caution, we will have an armed police officer at every Mass.

The officer will also be guarding the children as they go to and from faith formation on Sundays.

This Wednesday night we will have a police officer present from 6:30 to 9:00. Our staff will be meeting with a safety expert this week to guide us in formulating security protocols.

Let us all remain vigilant while we place all our trust in the Lord. Remember the 9-11 adage: If you see something say something!

God bless

Msgr. Michael Cowell

St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral posted the following information about the incident:

Please be advised that Kevin Winkle was arrested at St. Mary’s Cathedral during the 12:00 pm Mass Sunday, September 9th. He was arrested for carrying three loaded firearms. We had some indication that he was going to attend one of the Masses last Sunday; therefore, we hired a uniformed police officer to protect us.

During the 12:00 pm Mass the police officer observed him showing his weapon on his hip to our security person and immediately intervened escorting him out of the church. Once he was patted down two other guns were found on him with multiple full magazines of ammunition. He was served with a no trespass notice, forbidding him to be anywhere on our campus in the future. He was then arrested for felony possession of a firearm in a Church (safe zone).

Today, September 10th, his wife Rene was observed on our campus taking video and photos of our church buildings. The police detained and interrogated her. She was released but, like her husband, she was served with a no trespass notice, forbidding her to return to our campus.

Please be vigilant and be on the watch for them and if you see them at your church or school call 911. Please make copies of this for your ushers and or security personnel. Thank you.

Msgr. Michael Colwell

St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral, the Amarillo Catholic Diocese, and St. Mary's Cathedral School have not responded to our request for further comment concerning this incident. The Amarillo Catholic Diocese does have a police in place that prohibits guns / weapons on its parish and school properties.

"No guns/weapons are allowed on any diocesan property (i.e.: parish/school, student center, etc.) for any type of function unless carried by policemen or sheriff deputies. Security guards may carry night sticks, but no guns," the policy states.

High Plains Pundit located the following policy and procedures concerning the possession of weapons on Amarillo Catholic Diocese property:



In the case of weapon possession, adults and youth should be told verbally and in writing that possession of any weapon is absolutely prohibited on the premises of any church event in the Diocese of Amarillo or while participating in any parish or Diocesan sponsored event.

If a weapon is discovered, the local police should be called. It is imperative that the safety of all be safeguarded. At no time should the adult try talking the youth into surrendering the weapon. If there is an alleged weapon in the possession of someone attending an event, he or she should be approached in as discreet a manner as possible by two adults to determine if there is a weapon. At that point the police and parents should be notified of the incident.

Any firearms, explosives, or knives with a blade over two (2) inches long are absolutely prohibited.

No comments