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Sheriff: Man killed, wife hurt in Maryland church stabbing

URBANA, Md. (AP) — A Virginia man was in custody after a stabbing during a service at a church and retreat center Sunday night in western Maryland that left one man dead and his wife seriously injured, authorities said.

Frederick County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call reporting the stabbing at the Anna Prayer Counseling and Retreat Center in Urbana, near Sugarloaf Mountain about 50 miles west of Baltimore, and found a “very bloody scene,” Sheriff’s Chuck Jenkins said at a news conference. The stabbing occurred as the service ended and people other than the suspect and the victims were there, he said.

“There was a pretty gruesome scene, pretty bloody,” Jenkins said. “The stab and slashing injuries were pretty severe.”

A man died at the scene and his wife, who was flown to a trauma center in Baltimore, was in serious but stable condition, Jenkins said. Authorities have not released their names.

Jenkins said a motive wasn’t immediately clear.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “We don’t know at this point.”

After the stabbing, Jenkins said the suspect called 911 and said he was on the road, on foot, “waiting to be arrested” but he did not say why. He was taken into custody without incident. The suspect, identified only as a 30-year-old from northern Virginia, made no other admissions, Jenkins said.

The suspect, who had been staying at the retreat center for about five days, was being questioned and was cooperating, Jenkins said. Investigators were encountering some difficulties, including a language barrier, but a Montgomery County police officer was on his way to help as an interpreter, he said.

Deputies had been called to the facility Saturday, Jenkins said, when the same man was complaining about food at the center.

Deputies were looking for a knife, Jenkins said, but as of 11 p.m. Sunday, no weapon had been found.

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