Pastor of a suburban West Palm Beach church assaulted during a robbery Sunday morning

SUBURBAN WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The pastor of a suburban West Palm Beach church was hospitalized after being assaulted during a robbery Sunday morning.

Rev. Charles Scott, pastor of St. Paul AME Church at 3345 Haverhill Road, was changing in an office behind the church when he was struck in the head by a man. Scott fought back and was able to flee on foot, said Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

As Scott called for help, a white van, driven by a black male, was seen leaving the church parking lot and was stopped by deputies. The driver, identified as Richard Emanuel, spontaneously told deputies that two people that had been with him in the back of the church - a man and a woman - "may have robbed someone," Barbera said. 

Emanuel denied, however, any direct involvement and refused to continue to discuss the incident. Based on his statements that there was the possibility that property had been left in the van by the two other alleged individuals, the van was impounded for investigation.

The assailant was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt as well as a black ski mask and gloves but, as he fled the scene, he left the ski mask behind, Barbera said.

There were no other witnesses to the robbery and since the suspect was wearing a mask during the attack, no one could positively identify the perpetrator. However deputies were able to recover DNA evidence from the scene, Barbera said.

Scott was treated and released from the hospital.

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