Church attendees in North Carolina on Sunday were shocked when a man wielding a knife disrupted their outdoor services.
Police were called to the scene and a sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded the man, the New York Post reported.
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Investigators were trying to determine why the man, whose injuries didn’t appear life-threatening, interrupted the service outside Oak Grove Baptist Church in Waxhaw, North Carolina, said Deputy Tony Underwood, a spokesman for the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Underwood said the man lives across the road from the church and, from a driveway about 200 yards (182 meters) from the outdoor service, had been shouting obscenities at congregation members on Sunday and on previous occasions. Investigators suspect the man was upset about the noise from the outdoor service, according to Underwood.
“We don’t know exactly what the gentleman was upset about,” Underwood told the outlet. “We think it’s the noise, but we’re not exactly sure.”
Deputies struggled to subdue the knife-wielding man, the Post reported, and had to resort to using tasers. “The armed male continued fighting and a deputy eventually fired rounds from his service weapon striking the male,” said a statement from the sheriff’s office.
The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was treated for his injuries, which are reportedly not serious. The two deputies who struggled with the man also received minor injuries and were treated. Because an officer fired a gun, the Post reported, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.
Churches were exempted from North Carolina’s restrictions on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) had previously tried to limit indoor worship services, the Post reported, but a federal judge ruled against the limits after conservative Christian leaders sued. The group said the restrictions violated their constitutional rights to worship. The Waxhaw church where the confrontation happened is set to resume indoor worship services on May 31. Currently, churchgoers can attend services in person or watch them on Facebook or listen in on a conference call.
Another attack on a house of worship occurred recently in Mississippi when a church that was suing the city government burned down in what is believed to be an arson. The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo previously reported that the church, the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs, had defied stay-at-home orders to remain open. A message was spray painted on the church parking lot that read: “I Bet you stay home now you hypokrits” [sic]. There was allegedly an explosion in the back of the church that helped destroy the church, which had been set on fire and spray painted with graffiti. Investigators are looking into the fire as a potential arson.
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