Catholic priest targeted in Brooklyn racial-hate attack: police

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MARINE PARK, Brooklyn — Parishioners at a Brooklyn Catholic church are shocked after a new priest was the victim of a racial-hate attack, police said.

Joseph Mattarelliano, 25, allegedly shouted several racial slurs at Rev. Uriroghene Okrokoto of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Marine Park as the priest was walking near Avenue T and Ford Street the afternoon of Jan. 13.

“Go back to the projects, or your neighborhood in Flatbush where you came from!” Mattarelliano allegedly yelled at the priest while wielding a baseball bat. “Otherwise, I’m gonna split your head.

“What are you doing in my neighborhood? Did you make money? Leave this f–ing neighborhood, you f–ing n—er.”

Police sources said Okrokoto told Mattarelliano, “If you have a problem with me, you should call the police.”

At the time of the attack, Okrokoto was not wearing religious garb.

Mattarelliano sped off in his car. Okrokoto got his license plate number and informed police.

Mattarelliano surrendered Friday after police found him. He is charged with possession of a weapon and menacing as a hate crime.

Okrokoto recently arrived in the United States from Nigeria. A parishioner told the New York Post Okrokoto was ordained in June and goes by the name “Father Melchizedek.” Parishioners spent time with the new priest, showing him around the neighborhood after his arrival.