A man accused of attacking his mother in East Haven Tuesday was found hiding out in a church and taken into custody, according to police.
Officers responded to an East Haven home Tuesday after the fire department contacted them from the scene of what they called a “serious domestic violence assault.”
Police said 34-year-old Ryan Champlin assaulted his 59-year-old mother after they got into an argument about him not paying to live at their residence. The woman said she tried to call 911, but her son pushed her to the ground.
Champlin's mother was then able to run into her bedroom and lock the door, but her son kicked the door open, grabbed the cordless phone from her and hit her in the back of the head with it several times, breaking the phone, then fled from the home, police said.
After the woman spoke with officers, she was transported to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries, police said.
Officers then began searching for Champlin and received a tip that he’d been dropped off at the Old Stone Church at 251 Main St. in East Haven, so officers contacted church employees who weren’t sure if Champlin was inside but invited them in to look for him, police said.
Champlin was found hiding in an upstairs office and was taken into custody.
Police also shared video of an exchange with a church official who arrived at the scene, said the church is a place of sanctuary and refuge and that police have no authority to go into the church.
“While the East Haven Police Department respects the sanctity of a church, we also owe it to victims of domestic violence to apprehend suspects who commit violent felony assaults,” the news release from police says. “Officers were also cognizant of the fact that children attending day care might have been exposed to a fleeing felony suspect within the interior of the church. We feel that the decision to enter the church was the correct one in this particular situation.”
NBC Connecticut reached out to the church but the pastor was not available.
Police said the Old Stone Church runs a daycare, the Old Stone Playschool, out of the same building as the church and it appears teachers were the only ones there when Champlin entered the church. Police do not believe Champlin was in contact with any children.
Champlin has been charged with assault in the second degree, interfering with an emergency call, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief in the third degree.