Fatal Shooting of Pastor Shows a Pattern of Attacks on Churches

From the Christian Newswire

MARYVILLE, Ill. -- The pastor of a Maryville, Illinois, church was shot to death during a service today in front of horrified parishioners, who then tackled the gunman, according to news reports.  The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville was shot and killed during the 8 a.m. service, and the attacker and two parishioners suffered knife wounds in the attack.  The gunman walked in during the service, walked up to the pulpit and opened fire.  The pastor was shot three times.  The gunman then pulled out a knife and wounded himself.  Two worshipers who were attempting to detain him were also injured by the knife.

The following statement was issued today by Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network (www.christiansecuritynetwork.org), a national organization that provides security planning, training and emergency preparedness and response resources for Christian churches, ministries, schools and missionaries:

"The shooting this morning is a tragic situation, but unfortunately, one that has been witnessed many times over the years. This most recent violent incident against a Christian church in a small town in downstate Illinois is another reminder that these incidents are not going to stop and can occur anywhere, at any time. The only recourse that churches have to is to acknowledge that it can happen to them and to be prepared.

"In the first two months alone, the Christian Security Network has tracked 139 incidents in 31 states against Christian churches, schools and ministries."



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