Sunday, February 11, 2018

Fr. Steve Dalber brutally attacked in church parking lot

CHARLOTTE, NC (WSOC) - A priest is in stable condition after he was brutally attacked in the parking lot of his parish in south Charlotte Friday night.

Church officials said 67-year-old Fr. Steve Dalber, a priest at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church on Kuykendall Road, is recovering from a broken arm and injuries to his back.

“That was needless and senseless,” said Fr. John Wallace, one of Dalber's colleagues at St. Nektarios.

Officials said the attack unfolded when he was looking for his cellphone in the parking lot.

"My mind went to, 'Was this some sort of targeted attack?'” parishioner Elizabeth Kleto said.

William McCloskey, 17, is now facing charges for assault and hit-and-run.

"It just made me wonder what kind of people are out there that would attack a priest like that,” Kleto said.

Channel 9 learned that in the past month there has only been one incident, a car theft, reported within a half a mile of the parish.

"You think of a church as being one of the safest places and it's just a little bit unnerving when that comfort and safety is taken away,” Kleto said.

Church members are eager for their priest to return.

"Fr. Steve, we miss you. We love you,” Kleto said. “We thank you for everything you've done for our parish and we can't wait to have you back."

The church has created a security task force to discuss ways to make their campus more secure, such as installing cameras throughout the church property.

McCloskey is due in court Monday.

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