Pastor Extends Forgiveness to Suspect in Deadly Church Stabbing

After the investigation, police believe Marco Antonio Moreno, 28, attacked the men with a knife after a song. At the time, members were still arriving at the ministry. blood

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Caller Times) — Pastor Janson Abraham, of Kingdom Acts Ministries International, ran from the back room of a residence to find a 28-year-old man attacking another church leader at the beginning of church services.

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 Janson Abraham, pastor of Kingdom Acts Ministries International, points to his neck, indicating where one of four men was stabbed.  A man believed to be in his 30s is in police custody after four people were stabbed during the church service Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, inside the residence in the 1200 block of Cambridge Drive in Corpus Christi. One man died from his wounds. (Photo: Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times)

Just after 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, church members of the ministry and Harvest Tabernacle International Church, gathered at a home in the 1200 block of Cambridge Drive. The light green single-story home near Del Mar College East Campus is where its members have participated in a 40-day period of prayer and fasting.

“I heard the commotion and came out,” he said about the attack. “… Four men, including myself, were attacked.”Abraham said he quickly tried to stop the man from attacking the pastor. Another man, who was stabbed in the neck, Abraham said, also intervened. Another church member sustained injuries to his arm in an attempt to get the man off the pastor, police said. Abraham and the man who had injuries to his arm were discharged.  

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 Marco A. Moreno (Photo: Contributed photo/Nueces County Jail)

After the investigation, police believe Marco Antonio Moreno, 28, attacked the men with a knife after a song. At the time, members were still arriving at the ministry. 

“We don’t know what made him do this. But … we can extend forgiveness. We can extend love,” Abraham said. “His mother is a part of our church, so we are going to help her in the process because it’s not easy for her.”The Facebook page for Kingdom Acts Ministries International includes the same Cambridge Drive address as the residence where the deadly attack took place. Moreno was taken into custody on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He now faces a murder charge. 

Corpus Christi police on scene said a pastor and a band member were stabbed. One man is recovering from stab wounds to the neck, Abraham said, and he is still in intensive care. 

 A 61-year-old man, later identified as Frank Castillo, died at the hospital. 

“He’s a wonderful individual. I have known him and his wife, his family for the last eight years. He was a veteran. … He was a loving husband, a committed father, and everyone who knows him knows he’s a fun guy to be around,” Abraham said. “As a Brother he was to us, as a father, he cannot be replaced. He will be missed truly.”

The pastor also said Castillo was a father of a son and daughter, one of whom is married. 

 

 

 

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 Janson Abraham (right), pastor of Kingdom Acts Ministries International, greets a member of his ministry on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, outside his home, which is also where many of the ministry services take place. A man believed to be in his 30s is in police custody after four people were stabbed during a church service Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, inside the residence in the 1200 block of Cambridge Drive in Corpus Christi. One man died from his wounds. (Photo: Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times)

Texas Massacre Prompts Some Churches to Consider Concealed Guns and Armed Security

“God is our protector,” said Burdette, 62, “but I do still think that we need to have people with conceal carry.”

After one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings unfolded on their doorstep, pastors and parishioners around the tiny Texas hamlet of Sutherland Springs have begun asking whether guns have a rightful place inside their houses of worship.

It is a debate that is echoing across the United States as security experts and some politicians ask churches to consider a wide range of enhanced measures to thwart tragedies like Sunday’s deadly rampage at the First Baptist Church.

Barbara Burdette, who knew the 26 people killed in the massacre and as well as the 20 wounded, is ready to see her church hire armed security, or allow congregants to carry their own concealed firearms for self-defense.

“God is our protector,” said Burdette, 62, “but I do still think that we need to have people with conceal carry.”

Her pastor at the First Baptist Church of La Vernia, a one-story brick sanctuary 7 miles from the shooting scene, said the issue of guns in church requires a delicate balance between providing safety instead of fear.

Arming parishioners is not the only option. At the historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white gunman killed nine at a June 2015 bible study session, uniformed police officers now attend regular worship services.

“It’s part of our new normal,” said Reverend Eric Manning at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, by phone. He said the church also created in-house security, as have most black churches in the region.

Muslim and Jewish institutions for years have added security measures to address the threat of violence and hate crimes. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stresses the importance of security cameras, strong doors and clearing brush away from buildings so attackers have no place to hide.

A law enforcement vehicle prominently parked in front of a house of worship is also a strong deterrent to crime, said Claude Pichard, director of Training Force USA, which worked with churches across the country to improve security after the Charleston shooting.

The question of enabling, or even encouraging, parishioners to shoot back is a discussion particularly important to communities where guns are a part of life, such as rural Texas.

In Sutherland Springs, the shooter was confronted as he left the church by a resident who shot and wounded him.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News that churches should consider whether they wanted parishioners to be armed as a way of preventing another tragedy.

His state allows for the concealed carrying of handguns by licensed owners. It is not clear exactly how First Baptist Church, where the shooting occurred, addressed gun issues.

A sheriff in Williamson County, Texas, a two-hour drive from the massacre, expects to discuss arming parishioners at a church security summit he is organizing in the wake of the attack. He said churches have a responsibility to ensure that responding officers can distinguish a protector from the assailant.

“What are you doing to make sure we don’t have a friendly on friendly fire?” said Sheriff Robert Chody by phone.

New Life Church, a congregation of 10,000 people in Colorado Springs, Colorado, requires churchgoers to leave their guns in their vehicles, a decade after it was the scene of a deadly shooting that killed two. A parishioner trained in church security used a firearm to wound the shooter, preventing greater carnage, said pastor Brady Boyd.

“Pastors are now waking up to this reality that we are not living in Mayberry anymore,” he said, referring to the fictitious North Carolina hometown on the “Andy Griffith Show,” a long-running 1960s television comedy.

He pointed out that no church could have security in place to withstand an attack by a military-trained shooter using an assault rifle, the scenario that unfolded this weekend in Texas.

About 10 miles from the shooting, Floresville Christian Fellowship Pastor Bennie Herrera said he needed to re-examine security but knows there is only so much that can be done.

“We will not be gripped by fear,” he said. “Faith will rise up and we will come together,” he said.

 by Reuters