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Press Release

Virginia Man Charged for Attempted Church Shooting

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Rui Jiang, 35, of Falls Church, Virginia, with attempting to obstruct the congregants of the Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia, in the free exercise of their religious beliefs. The indictment charged that his attempted act involved a dangerous weapon and an attempt to kill, and included both a threats count and a firearms violation. 

According to court documents, Jiang began posting online threats against the Park Valley Church on the evening of Sept. 23, 2023. On the morning of Sept. 24, 2023, police began searching for Jiang in response to a concerned citizen’s call about his online posts. Police officers located Jiang at the front entrance to the Park Valley Church while Sunday services were underway. Jiang was armed with a semiautomatic handgun and two full magazines of ammunition. During a search of Jiang’s apartment, police discovered five copies of a letter, each signed, which read in part, “To the families of those men about to be slain – I am sorry for what I have done and about to do. May your tears not be cried in vain, but to celebrate how your loved ones had lived.” Jiang was arrested and detained by state authorities on Sept. 24, 2023.

If convicted of all counts, Jiang faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of FBI Washington Field Office, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth for Prince William County, Virginia, made the announcement.

The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case, with substantial assistance from the Prince William County, Virginia, and Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Departments.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Durham and Troy A. Edwards Jr. for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Kyle Boynton of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Updated March 28, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-358