APD explains what led to 2nd arrest of man accused of bringing firearms into church

Man suspected of bringing firearms into church arrested again for school-related weapons charge
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A man suspected of bringing three guns and full magazines into the St. Mary's Cathedral is behind bars again.

52-year-old Kevin Winkle was arrested on September 12 for the third degree felony charge of exhibiting firearms on a campus or school bus.

47th District Attorney Randall Sims said the charge Winkle's was filed after he learned about a prior incident on Wednesday, September 5, when police said Winkle showed up to learn about becoming an usher at the church.

During the training, police said he made several alarming comments and displayed a rifle that he was carrying in a violin case along with three other handguns that were in his possession.

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According to the arrest report, Winkle was taken into custody at a home in the 8100 block of Challenge Drive. He was booked into the Potter County Detention Center for exhibition, use or threat of exhibition or use of firearms.

After the incident on September 5, Saint Mary's had already taken action to secure the safety of their members.

"We then find out Saint Mary's had hired an off-duty officer at that location specifically because this male, Winkle, had come to the church on the Wednesday before and caused some alarm with the ushers at that location then," said Corporal Jeb Hilton with the Amarillo Police Department.

Winkle was arrested for the first time on Sunday, September 9 after church officials said he brought multiple weapons and full magazines into the St. Mary's cathedral during Sunday Mass.

After doing an inventory of his vehicle, Hilton said they located two more rifles with multiple rounds of ammunition in two separate violin cases.

"It's hard to say if we had the potential of a tragedy at this location and with this incident," said Hilton. "What we had is what we hope for is when we're called to something is that we can investigate and find out what's going on."

While on scene yesterday, NewsChannel10 did not see any signs prohibiting concealed carry at the church. However, Saint Mary's staff said today the signs are located on their inner doors.

"The school being on the property allows for no carrying on that property," said Hilton. "It doesn't have to do with signs or no signs at the church. It doesn't have to do with him having guns inside the church. It has to do with the fact that it was at a school location. The property is actually owned by Saint Mary's Academy and that's where this charge comes from."

He hopes the incident shows the public that if they have a concern, it will be investigated.

"We encourage anybody who suspects anything out of normal to contact the police and that's what happened in this," said Hilton. "There was concern brought up by Mr. Winkle to all the people he had contacted this last week, and that concern was brought to the police department and an arrest was made on an unlawful offense."

Church officials said Winkle's wife was also banned from church property after allegedly taking photos and videos of the church after his arrest.

Today, officers with the Amarillo Police Department assisted federal agencies in serving a search warrant on his house.

Hilton said they will work to keep the public updated as the investigation continues.

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