Shortly after 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, a priest at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church located at 1310 Bayswater Ave. saw the transient preparing to urinate on a tree on church property and asked him to leave, Sgt. Don Shepley said.
The transient, later identified as 43-year-old David Lewis, told the priest he was given permission to smoke on church grounds, Shepley said.
The priest told him was not allowed to smoke and again asked him to leave, he said.
Lewis then approached the priest, who retreated to church property where he lives. The priest grabbed a broom but Lewis allegedly punched him and knocked him to the ground, according to Shepley.
The priest suffered contusions to his face and right knee and fractured bones in his right elbow, Shepley said.
Later around 11:45 a.m., police found Lewis in the area of California Drive and Rhinette Avenue, where he was detained and positively identified as the suspect, Shepley said.
Lewis was arrested on suspicion of assault resulting in great bodily injury.