Call it divine intervention. A felon illegally carrying a loaded firearm and wearing tactical-style clothing who said he was heading to a nearby Baptist Church to "fulfill a prophecy" was unable to carry out his alleged mission due to the quick actions of a waitress at a Mexican restaurant.
Early Sunday morning, Tony Albert, 33, was arrested and charged with illegally possessing a handgun after Texas police were alerted by Brianna Jimenez, a waitress at Las Mañanitas restaurant in Seguin, Texas.
Though Jimenez didn't know it then, Albert, who lives over two hours away in Houston, has a lengthy criminal record that includes six arrests over nine years, multiple DUIs, assaulting a family member and disarming a cop, for which he's currently serving two years probation.
While Jimenez had no way of knowing about his troubling rap sheet, when Albert appeared at the restaurant early Sunday morning "oddly dressed" and asking for a ride to a nearby Baptist church, his appearance and demeanor was enough to put the waitress and her mother on edge.
"He was looking at me and he was saying something about, 'Do you know where the nearest church is at?' And he said Baptist church," Jimenez told San Antonio ABC-affiliate KSAT.
When she motioned to the church next door, The Door Christian Fellowship Church, she says he responded, "I've been to that church many years ago. ... Do you know where the other Baptist church is at?'"
Jimenez says she then asked her mother about the location of other Baptist churches and she gave him directions. But as he walked away, she noticed what prompted her to contact police.
"When he slowly walks away, that's when I finally see he has a weapon, and he's gripping it, like, he has his finger on the trigger," Jimenez told the outlet.
Instructing her fellow employees to lock down the restaurant, Jimenez told her mother to call the police.
Albert was arrested around 7 a.m. near The Door Christian Church.
"An SPD officer, who was off-duty at the time, was the first on the scene and observed an oddly dressed male wearing tactical style clothing, a surgical face shield, carrying a loaded firearm and extra ammunition," a department spokesperson, Tanya Brown, said in a statement Sunday, ABC News reports. "During the investigation, officers revealed that 33 year old Tony Albert was allegedly en-route to unidentified church to fulfill what he called a prophecy."
Police arrested him on charges of possession of marijuana and being a felon in possession of a handgun.
Expressing their gratitude for the quick actions of the citizens, the department said that if Albert had not been apprehended, "the results could have ended differently."
"Now that I think about it, he could've taken a trip to any church and — a lot of people [could've left] in body bags," Jimenez told KSAT. "That kind of hurts me, like, what if? You know what I mean? What if that really happened?"
ABC reports that Albert is being held at the Guadalupe County Jail on $100,000 bail.