Pastor confronts gunman during sermon on gun violence

(WIAT) — Some people are calling it a miracle. Others say it’s an act of great courage.

A pastor saved the lives of his congregation when he confronts a gunman during his sermon, which happened to be on the topic of gun violence.

Just before midnight, a man walked in.

The first to see him was the pastor

“I asked him, ‘can I help you,’” said Larry Wright, Pastor of Heal the Land Outreach Ministries.

“I didn’t see anything but this big rifle,” said church member Taylor Morgan.

“His next words were can you pray for me,” said Wright. “When he said that, then I knew everything was going to be alright.

“Charleston was the first thing that went through my mind,” said Morgan.

“Then the man went up to the altar and put the gun up,” said church member Lucrecia Hall.

Days later, the congregation is still giving thanks, and just when we started to talk to the pastor about security in the church, the man responsible for the scare returned to apologize.

He is not facing charges, and he asked not to be identified. He explained his wife was just diagnosed with a debilitating disease and they are struggling financially.

The power was just cut off at home.

On top of that, the veteran explains he is struggling with PTSD, partly because he can’t afford his medication.

“I saw in his eyes hopelessness, hurt, pain, despair,” said Wright.

He is also a convicted felon who was given a gun.

He said he came to the church because he thought it would be a safe place to get rid of the gun and not get in trouble.

He never meant any harm.

In fact, on Sunday after saying thank you and asking for forgiveness, he asked if the congregation would allow him to be part of the Heal the Land Outreach Ministries.

“And I pray that he comes back and visit us,” said Hall. “I’m not scared of him, not now.”

Because this congregation believes the night they opened the door to this very troubled man, they opened the door to God.

Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News

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