Goose Creek, South Carolina – A male subject entered the St. James United Methodist Church located at 512 St. James Ave. around 8 PM Thursday night (January 19, 2012) and robbed the choir members at gun point.
The choir had just chosen the hymn they would perform at Sunday’s service, and were rehearsing it, when the gunman walked in through an unlocked door.
Witnesses described the suspect as a black male, aged 20-50 entered the practice area armed with a long gun, described as either a rifle or shotgun. He demanded the choir members hand over their wallets, cell phones and jewelry and that they lay down on the floor.
One of the victims, 77 year old Dorothy Causey, a double amputee, was unable to go to the floor and was fearful the suspect would shoot her. When one of her fellow choir members told the robber she could not do as he asked, he told her to give up her wallet and jewelry and to throw it toward him.
She said, “I watched the man and he had a gun. The first thing that was going through my mind is that somebody is playing a prank, but when he raised the shotgun, we all knew it was for real.”
The witnesses stated the robbery suspect yelled and used profanity.
A police report said another of the robbery victims told investigators that the man had the weapon “firmly pulled into his shoulder and was pointing it at the choir as he entered.”
The robber “seemed very calm,” and during the incident said, “Keep your heads down. I’ll blow your head off,” the report said.
Causey said she believes the robber took more than just material things from choir members — he took their sense of safety and security while in church.
“We were in the church sanctuary practicing,” she said. Causey said the choir has practiced every Wednesday at the church for many years, and will continue weekly practice but at an alternate location.
Police used tracking dogs in an attempt to locate the suspect and are following up on leads. At this point there have been no arrests.