Man With Samurai Swords Shot, Killed at Scientology Building

LOS ANGELES -- An Oregon man who was fatally shot as he wielded a pair of samurai swords and attempted to attack guests at a landmark Scientology building was a former follower of the religion who had made at least a dozen previous threats against the church, a Scientology official said Monday.

Mario Majorski, 48, was shot once by a security guard as he tried to use the swords to attack guests Sunday at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, police said.

Majorski had threatened the church in a string of incidents dating to at least 2005 that were reported to the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI and Oregon authorities, said Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. The threats were allegedly made through faxes and telephone calls but police could not immediately confirm how many were made.

"He was clearly disturbed," Davis said. "It's just a tragic incident. Our condolences go out to his family or friends."

Majorski had been a Scientologist in the early 1990s but appeared to have left the church about 15 years ago, Davis said.

The shooting will be reviewed by the district attorney's office but police were treating the killing as justifiable.

"The security guard had to take action to prevent the deceased from killing or maiming people on the premises," Los Angeles police Detective Wendi Berndt said.

Security surveillance tape showed Majorski arrived around noon in a red convertible, then approached the guards with a sword in each hand before he was shot, Berndt said. She said the tape would not be released to the public because it was too graphic. No other weapons were found in the car, which Berndt said she thought was a rental.

Majorski was pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

Public records show Majorski associated with a string of addresses in Los Angeles County and Oregon during the last two decades. He filed for bankruptcy in 2000.

In October, police in Florence, Ore., arrested a Mario Majorski for menacing and disorderly conduct after he reportedly threatened a man with an ax handle, Florence Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Huff said. She said court records show Majorski had run out of gas and called AAA service to respond, but threatened the AAA representative when he arrived to help.

Other Oregon arrest reports show Majorski was arrested for criminal trespass by the Eugene Police Department in May 2007, and the next month the Lane County Sheriff's Department arrested him for unlawful use of a weapon.

In 1993, Majorski and another man sued a University of California, Los Angeles professor who had been speaking out against Scientology, Davis said. He said the men felt the professor was discriminating against them but the case was found to have no standing and was dropped.

The Celebrity Centre is a turreted, castle-like landmark in Hollywood that serves as "a home for the artist, a place where he can come and learn, attend seminars, meet other artists and even perform at our many showcases and events," according to the Centre's Web site.

Late Monday morning, a security guard patrolled outside the premises on a bicycle. He did not respond to questions.

Davis said the church frequently receives threats, many of them originating from a "cyber-terrorist group" that goes by the name Anonymous and includes Scientology among its targets.

Earlier this year, a Scientology building in Hollywood was vandalized with graffiti, and shots were fired through another Scientology building in Los Angeles, Davis said. In January, church officials in California received 22 envelopes of suspicious white powder that was treated by authorities as an anthrax threat.

Davis did not know if Majorski had been a member of the group.

Neighbors at his home in Florence said Majorski lived alone and seemed to receive few visitors. He often would disappear for weeks at a time on trips to California, they said.

Dale Doyle, 47, lived across the street from Majorski and helped him move into the neighborhood six months ago. He said he had never heard Majorski discuss Scientology.

"We saw him as pretty much harmless," he said.

The Church of Scientology was established in 1945 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and claims 10 million members around the world. It likes to cultivate celebrity followers and among its more famed acolytes are Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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