If anyone was dozing off in Sunday church service taking place at the City of God storefront church in Detroit, they were surely awakened by a confrontation that ended in the pastor shooting an attacker who aggressively pursued him during the sermon.
The gunshots provided by the pastor were indeed fatal, and the man, who had attacked the pastor with a brick, died several hours after the confrontation, reported Detroit Free Press. The pastor was arrested and may be charged pending further investigation. When the confrontation took place, the preacher removed a semiautomatic pistol from a concealed area and shot the man. Police say he may have been aware that such an attack had the potential to take place, according to Assistant Detroit Police Chief Steve Dolunt.
“They knew each other and had some type of problem before. When I got there, the body had already been moved. The pastor was in custody. We had the gun.”
Detroit’s religious community has been extremely vocal about speaking out against the city’s continuing problem with homicides, and specifically with gun-related violence. DFP noted that several pastors have commented on shootings in the past. Rev. Norman Thomas of the Sacred Heart Church was one of several who entered the efforts to curb gun violence earlier this summer when gun violence spiked.
“The common good is the value that supersedes all other things. So when we witness our brothers and sisters who decide to settle arguments, who take revenge against other people by killing them, we have to stand up and speak out. We hope that those who are witnesses to these kinds of things will be able to say, ‘My loyalty is to all the people, my silence is intolerable, I’ve got to do something.'”
One of the cities hit worst by the 2009 economic crisis, Detroit has become one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, If there was one place that a pastor could shoot someone during the sermon, it would be the city that Forbes has ranked the most dangerous in the nation for five consecutive years. Though the city of Baltimore passed the city in the number of gun-related homicides this year, Detroit still recorded a total of 169 murders this year. While that number is still high, it is down notably from the 411 homicides that the city recorded in 2012, reported Baltimore Brew.
At one point, violence was so bad in Detroit that funeral directors held a casket march downtown to protest the high number of deaths related to violence within the city. That hearse protest was also heavily linked to the local religious community. The name of the march took the sixth commandment as its moniker, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” O’Neil D. Swanson of the Swanson Funeral Home said that locals had had enough of outstanding homicides rates in the city, reported The Huffington Post.
“Enough is enough. We want to send a message, especially to our young people who are creating the havoc, that it is unholy and ungodly.”
Of course, many recalled another moment of church violence that took place four months ago when gunman Dylann Roof fatally shot nine people at a historically black church in South Carolina. DFP also noted that another similar killing had taken place in the city last July, though the pastor wasn’t the shooter in that incident. Instead a security guard killed a man bearing an ax, who had entered the church with supposed violent intent.
Should the pastor who shot his attacker face jail time for the killing?
[Image by John Moore/Getty Images]