It's a priest versus Jehovah's Witnesses after a FW altercation

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by JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA

kens5.com

Posted on April 10, 2010 at 3:03 PM

FORT WORTH - It appears to be a battle of faiths after a priest of a small Catholic church and a Jehovah's Witness got into an altercation in Fort Worth.

The Jehovah's Witness has accused Father John Parnell, a priest at the St. Augustine Mexican Catholic Church in Fort Worth, of assaulting him after he knocked on Parnell's door. However, Parnell said it was he who was attacked.

"So, the man comes in and tells my daughter right off, he says, 'You are going to be burned into the eternal fires of Gehenna if you don't listen to what I say,'" Parnell said.

The priest said that was the match that lit the fuse. He said he is tired of Jehovah's Witnesses coming into the St. Augustine church, which is not affiliated with the Fort Worth Diocese.

He said Jehovah's Witnesses came into the church on Easter Sunday during Mass.

"They walked right in and started handing out literature while people are sitting on the pews," Parnell said.

When Jehovah's Witnesses recently came to his door, Parnell said he attempted to escort them out after one of the men allegedly knocked his Bible to the floor.

"He said, 'This place is teaching lies and I am here to bring you the truth,'" he said.

Parnell said the men then dragged him down the street and beat him.

However, according to a police report, Parnell is the suspect in the altercation.

"The next thing you know, there was a haymaker that came out of left field there and went down the side of his face," said Harry Dwinell, a witness, of allegedly seeing the priest hit the Jehovah's Witness.

Dwinell, who called police, said he saw the whole incident from the first punch.

Parnell was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and gave an officer his side of the story. He claims to have witnesses of his own.

WFAA was unable to contact the Jehovah's Witnesses involved in the incident.

E-mail: jdouglas@wfaa.com

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