Police: Man arrested after battering priest, barricading self at Melbourne church

Officers say they have arrested a man after a disturbance at a Central Florida church where a suspect battered a priest before barricading himself.

The Melbourne Police Department said that officers responded to a disturbance at the Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church on Guava Avenue on Sunday morning.

They said that there was a disturbance occurring between church officials and a known individual. Things turned violent as the suspect battered one of the priests. At the scene, officers observed the suspect brandishing a firearm.

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Officers reportedly distracted the suspect long enough to allow church members to flee the area. The suspect then barricaded himself just outside the front door of the church, threatening suicide. 

A perimeter was said to be established and the suspect has been contained to the entrance of the church. SWAT and CNU members were at the scene and negotiated with the suspect.

Law enforcement said that they have since taken the suspect, now identified as Mark Soliman, 45, into custody. The incident was resolved without injury.

Investigators said Soliman is facing charges of armed kidnapping, aggravated assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, battery and resisting arrest.

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