Many churches have an outreach program in their communities where they open their gym up for basketball, and kids and young men come into the church for a safe place to compete and have fun.
Normally, these are well maintained, chaperoned, and a great opportunity to share Christ with the community, except when someone brings a gun and uses it to shoot into the crowd. Sometimes churches hire off duty police officers to provide security.
Again, this is a an example of a positive attempt on the people of fail is met with the reality of the world and the violence that exists within it. I think we would all agree the reason why church exists is to minister to those in our community who need God.
This includes felons, gang bangers, and violent people. When the church opens it doors, we never really know who is going to show up, whether for special outreach opportunties or Sunday morning worship.
Below is a story from Florida, where a good time was spoiled by a criminal bringing a gun to a church. Below the story is a link to the original website. There is a news story there.
So the question: What security measures can be taken prior to an open event like this? Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.
Apparently, this is what happened at a Pensacola, FL church recently.
According to ABC3 News, an incident like this happened last August, and the suspect is just now being arrested.
“A Pensacola man has been arrested for shooting into a crowd after a basketball game. It happened right outside a church last night on Strong Street between C and D streets.
Tonight, Kamarccus Webster is facing charges in that shooting, including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a gun by a felon.
Channel Three’s Jenise Fernandez has reaction from neighbors. It was after a basketball game inside the Greater Little Rock Church when a fight broke out. The shooting happened on Strong Street. Police say Kamarccus Webster shot two people.
That was more than five months ago, now he is finally behind bars. Kamarccus Webster was playing basketball inside the gym here at Greater Little Rock Church. Webster, along with a group of men, started fighting.
Police say Webster began shooting into a crowd of about 20 people. Witnesses told police they heard about 10 shots fired. “Young people with such bright futures. they put violence on like they put on their clothes.” Pamela Williams lives right behind the church, near where the shooting happened.
She remembers the commotion that day. She’s relieved the suspected shooter has been caught. “There’s so much violence it’s just a great feeling to know that there’s one less person to worry about.”
The two men police say Webster shot did not face life-threatening injuries. Police say the two victims, along with witnesses, were able to identify Webster as the shooter. Claudia Terrell “I feel good knowing there’s one less bad guy on the streets being im a single mom with two boys myself.”
Although neighbors have some peace of mind, they’re still looking over their shoulders, hoping the violence will stop. “I go to work, go to church, and go home. I try not to be out as much because it’s not safe.” Webster remains behind bars, bond set at 127-thousand dollars.