Woman arrested for ramming car into Church of Scientology

*Update*

Austin police release the booking photo of 31-year-old Erin McMurtry, the woman accused of crashing into The Church of Scientology.

McMurtry admitted to driving into the church lobby and leaving the scene.  At one point, her car almost made it into the kids' playroom inside.  Luckily, no one was hurt.

McMurtry sasys she drove into the church because "Scientology is evil and they blackmail people."

If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.


The Church of Scientology has stepped up security after a car slammed into the front of its building. Members say they were targeted and want to know why.

It's not something you see every day.

"Drove up on the curb, aimed at the front foor, gunned it and went through the front of the building, the glass and about 20 feet into the elevator lobby," says Cathy Norman, Church of Scientology.

Austin Police say around 9:00 Monday night, they started receiving calls about a vehicle that crashed into a building.

The driver, identified as 31-year-old Erin McMurtry, reportedly reversed her car, made an obscene gesture and sped off.

Church spokesperson Cathy Norman says two people were just six feet away.

"Obviously they were in motion and didn't make a mistake. They were parked at the curb, it was clearly deliberate and the rude gesture surely indicates it was hateful," says Norman.

At the same time, APD also received a check welfare call.

When they responded to that location, they noticed a car matching the description of the car in the building crash.

The woman was brought in for questioning and later admitted to the crime.

"It's a relief to know they caught someone. We would like to know what their motive was," says Norman.

Crews could be seen on Tuesday cleaning debris and boarding up the entrance. 

The damage estimate is $30,000. Members believe they were targeted.

"There's been graffiti that's been direct about my religion but I don't recall anything like this. This is beyond the usual drag mayhem. This isn't that. This isn't just misbehavior. This is very concerning," says Norman.

McMurtry has been charged with a state jail felony for criminal mischief of a place of worship.

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