1986-Dec.: Morningland Church Bomb Scare

Man held in planting bomb at cult’s center

LONG BEACH — A man whose sister was reportedly being harassed by members of a religious cult was arrested on suspicion of planting a powerful dynamite bomb at the church’s headquarters, police said.

Thomas T. McCoy, 26, of Bellflower, was arrested yesterday after a church member saw him near the building and called police, Lt. Michael Kunst said.

Police had supplied a description of a suspect vehicle seen near the building early Saturday, when part of a 10-stick dynamite bomb went off at the church, Kunst said.

“He had another destructive device with him when he was arrested and he was going back to the church,” Detective Sgt. Soren Poulsen said. Police also found a .45-caliber pistol in McCoy’s car, he said.

Detectives refused to say what kind of destructive device was found yesterday.

“He felt the church was harassing him and his sister, and that angered him,” Poulsen said. Detectives were told that church members were trying to recruit the woman, Poulsen said.

McCoy was booked on suspicion of ignition of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device and carrying a concealed weapon.

The Morningland Church of the Ascended Christ, headquartered in Long Beach since 1973, has had a history of controversy.

In 1978, church attorney Edward Masry and a church leader were charged with offering a bribe to former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally. Masry was convicted, but the conviction was later overturned.