Church scuffle involves pastors

| November 30, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Two pastors of opposing churches got into a knockdown, drag-out fight.

News 13 has new information on a religious group with strong opinions who protested three churches. One of those protests got out of hand. The group is known as Watchman for Christ. News 13 learned that they targeted the three churches because of disagreements on how to get to Heaven.

A Bernalillo County Deputy lost his cool with members of Watchman of Christ outside a rock concert in July.

The group, seen in YouTube videos , brings its outspoken preaching to events and on street corners. The national leader of the group said their religion is based on a strict interpretation of the Bible.

More than 55 chapters of the Watchman are set up around the country, specializing in street preaching.

Jeremy de los Santos is one of those street preachers. He heads up the Roswell chapter, which took their boisterous opinions to the front of three different churches in town, including Church on the Move, where de los Santos used to be a member.

“A group came to our church and wanted to cause issues,” Pastor Troy Smothermon, with Church on the Move said.

Some members of the non-denominational church confronted the men and asked them to leave, that's when it turned violent.

Roswell police said Rolando Iglecias, with the Watchman, pushed a pastor to the ground and started hitting him.

Iglecias was arrested for battery. De los Santos and another man were also arrested for being too disruptive. A member of the Church on the Move may also be in trouble. He's been cited for aggravated assault for pulling out a baseball bat while his father was in the scuffle with a Watchman member.

The Watchman's national leader said the group is being unfairly targeted by Roswell police, because officers have ties to the churches they were protesting. The chief of police said that's not the issue.

“Once that individual makes clear that they want to be left alone you need to respect that,” Chief Deenis Kentigh said.

The Watchman's national leader said they are watching the charges in Roswell closely and are thinking about flying in 40 extra street preachers to set up shop in Roswell.

Watchman group members said they have no qualms about getting in the faces of people who they think are sinners.

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Category: Church Security

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