Police: Naked man baptized himself in Mesa church, punched 2 officers

Stone font for holy water used for baptisms
Stone font for holy water used for baptisms (FILE)(MGN)
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:21 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:33 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A man from Tempe is accused of criminal trespass and indecent exposure after he allegedly baptized himself while naked at a fountain in a Mesa church over the weekend.

According to arrest records, Mesa police say that Jeremiah Sykes, 20, exposed himself while in a baptism fountain at One Life Church east of Gilbert Road on University Drive just after 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Officers were told that the man was just sitting there, refusing to leave, and that as police were called, Sykes reportedly grabbed a blanket and left. Officers found him nearby, still naked and holding a blanket.

Sykes admitted to baptizing himself naked, but that he left once, he was asked to leave. At the scene, officers arrested him on recommended charges of indecent exposure and criminal trespassing in addition to his outstanding warrants.

Once taken to the Mesa jail Sykes reportedly threw his sock at one of the detention officers, and as that officer approached him, he reportedly threw a punch, hitting the officer in the head. Another officer was also struck while trying to intervene. Ultimately, authorities were able to restrain Sykes. The officer hit in the first punch was taken to the hospital due to a cut near his eyebrow. After having his Miranda rights read again for the additional charges, Sykes refused to answer any questions.

A booking photo for Sykes was not immediately available. Court records state that Sykes has prior arrests for first-degree criminal trespassing, aggravated assault on a correctional officer, and criminal damage. Sykes was deemed non-bailable due to his prior felony warrants.