A church in Tampa Bay, Florida, is taking matters into their own hands. In light of the recent mass shooting in a church and the continued search for a serial killer in the area, the River at Tampa Bay Church has decided to arm the pastors to defend themselves from potential troublemakers, at least that’s what signs posted all over the church say.
The River at Tampa Bay Church has put up signs saying it is not a gun-free zone and that they are heavily armed. The signs also warn that they will thwart any attempt on the property with deadly force in order to protect their people.
“Welcome to The River at Tampa Bay Church – right of admission reserved – this is private property,” read the sign. “Please know this is not a gun free zone – we are heavily armed – any attempt will be dealt with deadly force – yes we are a church and we will protect our people.”
The signs got the attention of the public after it went viral recently. The River Senior Pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, posted the warning sign on Instagram on Nov. 7 after 26 people lost their lives in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, mass shooting, according to The Miami Herald. The warning signs have been up for over a year now and are placed in every door of the 21-year-old Tampa Bay church, Associate Pastor Allen Hawes told The Tampa Bay Times.
Hawes has a permit to concealed-carry guns, Fox News reported. The pastors are not the only ones allowed to carry weapons in this Tampa Bay church, however. According to Hawes, the 1,200-strong church congregation includes “many armed members.”
“If you think you are going to come here and do that, this is the deterrent for you because it is everywhere, it’s not like we hide these guns,” Hawes said.
“Would I rather ruffle a few feathers, or do I want to count bodies?”
Hawes further explained that the warning sign is for those who plan to “walk through the door with the intention to harm.” He cited the unfortunate event in the Texas church and the mass shooting in Las Vegas as enough reasons to arm themselves. It doesn’t help that a suspected serial killer is on the loose in Tampa.
Tampa police and the city residents are on the alert after four people were killed in separate occasions, the latest coming only five days ago. All four victims were shot to death and police believe this to be the handiwork of one person, who is now being called the Seminole Heights Slayer.
Benjamin Mitchell.— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) November 15, 2017
Four lives ended in shooting deaths in Seminole Heights.
If you have information, call: 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).
A reward for information leading to an arrest stands at $41,000.
Full story: https://t.co/QdkJLD00yV pic.twitter.com/6mSnu5oyT5
Hawes said that the people at the Tampa Bay church are collectively paying very close attention to the Seminole Heights murders, as reported by Tampa Bay Times.
“Someone is murdering people,” Hawes said. “This stuff is happening all the time. Do you wait for another shooting to take precautions?”
[Featured Image by Chris O’Meara/AP Images]