Man shot at Scientology site had made threats

Ryan and Wagner are Times staff writers.

When he was a UCLA student 15 years ago, Mario Majorski was a committed enough Scientologist that he helped file a federal lawsuit against a professor who called the church a cult.

On Sunday, Majorski stormed the church’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood with a sword in each hand. He was shot dead by a security guard who police say had every reason to fear for his life and the lives of hundreds of others gathered on the property.

The reasons for Majorski’s transformation from fervent believer to attacker remained a mystery Monday.


A church spokesman said the 48-year-old had not participated in Scientology activities for more than a decade, but in recent years he had made a series of threatening phone calls to church offices in Los Angeles and Oregon, where he had been living.

“There were over a dozen threats at various points since 2005,” said spokesman Tommy Davis.

The church alerted police to the calls, which Davis described as ranging from veiled statements that “something bad” would happen to the church to direct threats of violence.

Although Majorski’s name was known to church security, Davis said, guards, including the former police officer who shot him Sunday afternoon, did not know him by sight.

“It was only after it happened that we realized, ‘Oh, it’s that guy,’ ” he said.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives spoke with Majorski’s relatives Monday. Det. Wendi Berndt said they believed Majorski had been unemployed for some time.

They said that he had previously worked with his father, who is now deceased, in a real estate business.


An employee at a skilled-nursing facility in San Gabriel said Majorski’s mother died about a year ago.

Public records show Majorski maintained residences in California and Oregon as recently as last year.

Majorski was a church member in good standing in 1993 when he and a classmate sued a psychiatry professor and UCLA.

The professor, Louis West, was an expert on brainwashing and an outspoken critic of Scientology, which he dismissed as a “pyramid scheme.”

Suits filed in state and federal court accused West of activities, including speaking to anti-cult groups, that transgressed the separation of church and state and interfered with Majorski’s practice of religion.

Both suits were dismissed, and court records indicate that Majorski’s role was largely limited to providing his name as a plaintiff.


Public records show a recent history of confrontation in both states.

On Nov. 2, Majorski was arrested at a Mormon church service in Florence, Ore., the coastal town where he lived

A Florence police spokeswoman told the Associated Press that he was “cursing and moving around a lot” and was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.

Less than a month ago, he was arrested in Florence for swinging an ax at an Auto Club employee who was bringing him gas for his car.

Majorski threatened to shoot police who went to his home to investigate, according to a police report. He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct.

In 2006, the administrator at Country Villa Broadway, the San Gabriel medical facility where his mother was a patient, sought a restraining order against him. In court papers, the administrator wrote that Majorski’s visits from Oregon were unwelcome.

A Superior Court judge barred Majorski from visiting unless he was accompanied by a special monitor.




Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.