SPOKANE, Wash. – In his first jailhouse interview, Joseph Knop, 23, spoke with KHQ's Kelsey Watts about what drove him to cause $50,000 in damage to the Lake City Assembly of God church in Medical Lake.
The crime was discovered just hours before Sunday services on January 13th. Two days later, Spokane County deputies arrested Knop, and he confirmed to KHQ he confessed to the crime to both deputies and the church pastors.
"I feel really bad about it. I told the pastor I'd even come and help fix it," Knop told KHQ. "I'm sorry, and I hope [the church and my family] forgive me."
Knop said he broke in because he was hearing voices in his head, and admits he needs help. He said his intent when he broke in was not to simply cause damage:
"To kill myself, that was it," he said, adding that a tattoo of his mother's name on his arm is what changed his mind.
"If it wasn't for her, I probably would have done it," Knop said, with tears in his eyes. "I was going to burn myself alive in the church, that was what I was going to do. And I didn't because of her, because of the tattoo itself."
Knop told KHQ he was on meth and pills the night he went on the rampage, and was upset about an ongoing medical issue his mother has been facing for the last year.
"It was pretty dumb of me to do," Knop admitted.
Knop also said he doesn't remember everything he did inside.
"I remember some things, like the fire extinguisher," he added.
But spraying the fire extinguisher from floor to ceiling in the kitchens is just one part of the story; police say Knop also shattered windows, kicked in doors, sprayed obscene messages on a wall, took a shovel to the soda machine, poured soda into a keyboard, ripped down the sound machine, and stole some equipment.
"The pastor couldn't believe I did all that damage. I was in there for 4 hours, debating whether to kill myself of not," Knop said.
He also took the time to make a latte and cook up a hotdog.
"Yeah," he laughed. "I was hungry, but the latte machine, I didn't know how to work it."
He said he targeted that church because his family goes there, and he did too, years ago as a little boy. He says he plans to go back and attend that very church once he's released from jail.
Knop is being held on $15,000, and he's expected back in court next court.