A 62-year-old man who attempted to pepper spray members of a church group known for their inflammatory views on the military and homosexuality accidentally hit counter-protesters instead.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church stood on a street corner in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday about a block from the funeral of Staff Sgt. Michael Bock. Bock, a Marine, died Aug. 13 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province Afghanistan.
The man, in a maroon truck, drove by the group and used an industrial sprayer to unleash a cloud of pepper spray, but he accidentally hit counter protesters who oppose the Westboro congregation and a police officer. The man was arrested and has been charged with multiple counts of assault.
Church members say the deaths of U.S. troops is God’s punishment for the United States’ tolerance of homosexualtiy. They have been the target of widespread criticism for their provocative signs and slogans, and have been sued by the father of at least one fallen Marine who said the group disturbed his son’s funeral and violated his right to mourn in privacy.