- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2008

Prince George’s County police officers spread out across College Park on Thursday looking for witnesses to a Christmas Eve attack in which a 69-year-old man was robbed and beaten with a baseball bat.

“Our robbery suppression team is canvassing the area,” Cpl. Erica Johnson said. “Hopefully, that will give us a lead.”

Police identified the victim as Wayne Williams. They said he had dropped off his wife in front of the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the 4900 block of Berwyn Road and was attacked while parking his vehicle in the church’s rear lot.

Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, said Mrs. Williams was going to choir practice before midnight Mass and the attack occurred about 10:45 p.m.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Miss Gibbs said Thursday.

Church leaders announced the attack to shocked parishioners at Christmas Mass on Thursday morning.

Mr. Williams was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

Miss Gibbs said Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl was praying for the family and visited Mr. Williams in the hospital and that his condition is improving. “Hopefully, the prayers have worked,” she said.

Holy Redeemer was founded in 1910, and the first church was built in 1912.

In 1922, Holy Redeemer was officially constituted as a parish, according to the church. A new church structure and convent were built and dedicated in 1954.

Police described the suspect as a black man in his 20s, about 5-feet-10-inches tall and 190 pounds.

“We have no other motive except robbery,” Cpl. Johnson said.

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