AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A woman who drove into the Church of Scientology near the University of Texas Austin campus says she did it on purpose because “they blackmail people,” according to an arrest affidavit.
On Monday evening, witnesses say a driver “methodically” drove onto the curb and drove toward the front doors of the church. In the affidavit, the witness says as the vehicle was backing out, the person in the car was “shooting him a bird.” The witness was able to follow the car out and make a note of the license plate, which helped police link the car to 31-year-old Erin McMurtry.
Prior to police finding McMurtry, her father called police asking for a check welfare because his daughter was breaking things at a friend’s place of business. When the officer went to McMurty’s apartment, he noticed a damaged vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle that caused the crash.
When officers first asked McMurty about the crash, she initially said, “no comment,” but later said, “I confess, I did it.” When asked why she did it, the driver said “Scientology was evil because they blackmail people,” continued in the affidavit. While speaking with detectives, McMurty goes onto say she sat outside the church for 10 minutes and “wanted to throw a rock through the window of the church but could not find one so she drove into the church instead.”
The night of the crash, the director of special affairs at the Church of Scientology of Texas, Cathy Norman says she knew the crash was deliberate.
“Thank God nobody was killed or maimed in this deliberate assault,” said Norman in a statement. “We are cooperating with law enforcement and it is reassuring that an arrest has been made.”
McMurtry was charged with criminal mischief of a place of worship.