OMAHA, Neb. - A Nebraska man is jail after police believe he tried to spray mace on protestors outside the Omaha funeral of a Leesburg High graduate.
George Vogel was arrested Saturday morning a few blocks away from the First United Methodist Church, the location of Staff Sergeant Michael Bock's funeral.
Officers on duty for the funeral say Vogel drove up in his Ford F-150 pick-up truck and as he was passing by Westboro Baptist Church protestors he extended his arm out the truck's window and sprayed a large amount of mace into the air from an industrial-sized container.
More than a dozen people were hit by the mace, including one police officer.
Vogel was arrested and charged with sixteen counts of misdemeanor assault, one county of felony assault of a police officer, and one count of child neglect. The 62-year-old Vogel is currently in the Douglas County jail.
Members of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church are known protesting soldiers' funerals all across the country. They believe the troops' deaths are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.
One Westboro church member who was driving back to Kansas told the Associated Press her group was Vogel's intended target, but they were able to protect themselves using their protest signs as protection.
"Nobody got sprayed at all from our group, but the entire bunch of rebels and the cops did," said Shirley Phelps-Roper.
Staff Sgt. Michael Bock died August 13 after bring shot in Helmand province while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Bock grew up in Springfield, Nebraska, before moving to Leesburg with his family when he was in high school.
A month after his high school graduation in 2002 Bock went off to Marine boot camp.
Bock leaves behind his wife of seven years and a 3-year-old son, Zander.
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