Priest Attacked by Man with Hammer at St. Francis Roman Catholic Church

On Friday, June 12th at 8:49pm, authorities responded to a battery call at St. Francis Catholic Church in Fillmore. According to reports a priest had been battered by a Hispanic male who wore a mask and was carrying a hammer. The suspect was trying to break into church property and attacked the priest, who was able to defend himself, before fleeing east bound on Ventura Street, after taking a religious statue and Bible. About four hours later Sheriff’s Deputies were able to arrest 32-year old Rene Villanueva of Fillmore at the ARCO station, about one mile east of the church. Villanueva was booked into the Ventura County Jail for burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. He is also being held for a parole violation. Villanueva’s bail was set at $220,000, with no release due to the parole violation.