Sheriff: Concealed Weapon Saves Church From Man Armed With Shotgun
- Sheriff: Concealed Weapon Saves Church From Man Armed With Shotgun
March 26, 2012 3:54 PM
BOILING SPRINGS, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff is praising a man
with a concealed weapons permit who helped disarm someone who kicked in the
door of a church armed with a shotgun.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright made national news last year when
he urged all women in his county to get a permit to carry a gun after a
woman was raped in a park. He said Sunday’s incident shows how citizens
carrying a legal weapon can stop crimes and prevent bloodshed.
Jesse Gates had already been to the Southside Freewill Baptist Church in
Boiling Springs once Sunday morning, so the pastor’s grandson was keeping
his eye on the parking lot when he saw Gates come back, this time taking a
shotgun out of his trunk, Wright said.
“They locked the door and they were calling 911 at the time. He didn’t
draw his weapon or make any move or action toward this gentleman until he
kicked the door open and forced the issue,” Wright said.
After Gates kicked in the door, the pistol pointed at him distracted him
enough that the pastor was able to grab the shotgun. Members of the church
kept him down until deputies arrived, Wright said.
Gates, 38, had disrupted services before, coming into the church,
collapsing on the altar complaining of chest pains and demanding to see his
children, who church members said don’t attend. The church called an ambulance,
but Gates left without getting help, authorities said.
Gates mentioned his children again as he was being led away in handcuffs
in front of the cameras of several television stations.
“I’ve been praying, begging, I’ve been to the judges, been to lawyers. I’
ve called lawyers, and they won’t let me see my children,” Gates said.
When asked why he brought a gun, Gates responded, “I never aimed it at
nobody. I figured maybe he would just listen.”
Investigators are still trying to determine what Gates was talking about.
“He’s claiming that he came to see his kids. Well, I’ve got a new fact
and a clue for you — his kids don’t go there. So I don’t know what his
intentions were other than to cause mass chaos,” Wright said.
Gates was charged with burglary, disturbing a place of worship and
attempted kidnapping. Gates’ sister, 34-year-old Amanda Gates, was charged with
providing her brother with the shotgun and driving him to the church.
Authorities did not know if either had an attorney. Bond was denied for them
Wright said he has no problem with citizens carrying concealed weapons as
long as they have a permit and act responsibly and within the law.
“I do not want you to act as a deputy sheriff. That’s not what I am
asking you to do,” Wright said. “I absolutely do not want anybody to take the
law into their own hands.”
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