An unidentified man brought a semi-automatic assault rifle into Heal The Land Outreach Ministries, a church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Dec. 31, 2015, but was disarmed by a pastor (video below).
“He said, ‘I came here with some terrible things on my mind, I was going to do some bad things,'" Pastor Larry Wright told WNCN.
Wright was preaching a sermon against violence during the New Year’s Eve service when he saw the gunman, stopped his message and approached him.
While Wright was calm and collected, some church members began screaming and running out of the church.
According to Wright, the man told him how he had been hurt by the church in the past, was recently been released from prison and had served in the armed forces.
The gunman asked for prayer, Wright took his rifle away and had some men come over and help him pray for the man, the pastor recalled.
“When I told the congregation, 'Its OK, he wants prayer,' and I began to pray for him, and the power of God hit and he fell to his knees and began to cry and weep and he had his face on the ground,” Wright stated.
Wright said the man professed his faith in Christ, stayed for the rest of the sermon and apologized to the congregation.
Before the church service ended, someone called 911, but Wright convinced police to wait outside until the service was over before taking the man into custody.
“I didn’t want to interrupt the service,” Wright, who is also a veteran and a local city councilman, told the Fayetteville Observer.
Police Department spokesman Lt. David McLaurin told the newspaper the man was taken to a local medical center for a voluntary commitment.
“I want to follow up with him and see that he’s getting the help and resources he needs,” Wright added.