NORTH PROVIDENCE – Complaints about Shiloh Gospel Temple at 974 Charles St. have continued, including about late-night loud events, and police recently visited the church and made two arrests in the parking lot during a violent early-morning confrontation.
When complaints came up early last year, Rev. Eric Perry said at the time they were due to a series of events in January, including to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Perry’s birthday.
The Breeze this week requested and received a North Providence Police Department report on an incident that occurred outside the church at 12:58 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3. The police report states that a man was arrested after an incident at the church. Leroy Robinson, of Providence, was charged with simple assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
Police said they responded for a report of a disturbance, possibly involving a knife. Robinson said he was at the church speaking with Rev. Perry when a man, later identified as John Perry, got in his face in a confrontational way and attempted to punch him. While walking outside the church, Robinson said a woman (redacted name) punched him in the face. He said he then defended himself and she pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. He said he didn’t hit back and simply defended himself. Police did not observe any marks on him to corroborate his statement.
The woman told police that she’d been in an argument with Robinson when he punched her three times on the side of her head, causing minor swelling and bruising, as well as a bump and cut on her left hand due to being punched, and then he tried to punch John Perry. She denied having a knife, and police said they found none on her.
A juvenile male at the scene first told police that he handed a knife to the woman, then that he’d tried to hand it to her but she hadn’t taken it. He said he was trying to get her the knife so she could defend herself. The woman said she didn’t know the young man personally and had only just met him at that night’s church service.
The woman denied assaulting Robinson, and Robinson had no injury to substantiate his claim that he’d been punched, said police.
John Perry said he saw Robinson assault the woman, denying that he assaulted Robinson and saying he was trying to break up the fight due to his sister being assaulted. The woman also signed a statement that she wanted to pursue criminal charges. Police said they deemed Robinson the primary aggressor.
The altercation started after an argument Robinson started with (name redacted) inside the church.
Robinson was then arrested and booked on the charges. He then signed his own statement saying that when they went outside, the woman punched him in the face and tried to stab him.
He said his right hand was swollen, making it hard for him to write, was asked if he wanted medical attention, to which he said yes, and a rescue was called and he was medically cleared. He was then held pending arraignment as a probation violator.
According to police, the woman (name redacted) was also placed into custody for disorderly conduct.
Deputy Chief Robert Lepre said the building at 974 Charles St. is shared by Transformation Worship Center and Shiloh Gospel Temple.
A resident who asked not to be named said events and parties continue to happen late at night, with cars lining the street and people coming and going and yelling to each other until 3 a.m. The churches seem to hold a celebration for everything, they said.
Rev. Eric Perry said last year that claims of loud music early in the morning couldn’t be true because the church abides by a 10 p.m. cutoff. He said this week that the complaints about loud noise early in the morning last year were related to people leaving, and were not connected to music coming from the church.
Perry told The Breeze the church is operating within parameters, but one neighbor closest to the building continues to have the issues. Claims of issues are “a lie from the pit of hell,” he said, and the incident on Nov. 3 was in the parking lot of the church, not the church itself.
Asked how many complaints there have been in recent months related to the church, Lepre initially said the last complaint to go through dispatch for loud music was on Jan. 24, 2021, but after speaking with new community policing Sgt. Chris Puleo, he said there have been four calls of complaint about late noise since September that did not go through that official process.
Perry, in a written statement, said the church was planning a turkey giveaway for Nov. 22, joined by Black Lives Lives Matter, with Executive Director Gary Dantzler, and Providence School Board member Ty’Relle Stephens.
“The doors of the church are and will always be open for the community,” he said. “(I) Hope everyone understands that there is no perfect church, but we’re serving a perfect God.”
The church’s Facebook page announces many events, including an talent showcase fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m., a “one-day encounter with God” with an evangelist on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m., four nights of special anniversary services celebrating 34 years of ministry by Eric Perry and 32 years of marriage for him and his wife on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-4, at 7 p.m. each evening, including the Rev. Gregory Perry of Providence on Nov. 2.
Lt. Tom Jones said last year that the town didn’t want to get involved in limiting service times for the church. The worship at Shiloh is loud, he said, with drums and other instruments. Town Councilor Ken Amoriggi has also said that the church was very loud when he previously lived nearby.