Churchgoers subdue gunman at Spartanburg church

| March 26, 2012

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) – A Boiling Springs man and his sister are accused of breaking into and pointing a shotgun at church full of members Sunday morning in Spartanburg County.

About noon Sunday, deputies said 38-year-old Jesse Gates returned to the South Side Free Will Baptist Church on Upper Valley Falls Road in Boiling Springs, where he kicked in a door and entered the church armed with a shotgun before he was taken down by the pastor, the pastor's grandson and two church members.

Once deputies arrived Gates was taken into custody, along with his sister 34-year-old Angela Gates, and they two were transported to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.

Jesse Gates didn't hold back as he left sheriff's office Sunday afternoon. In front of the media, he admitted to bringing a gun to the church that morning.

"I wanted to see my kids," Jesse Gates said. When asked why he brought a gun, he answered, "Because I went there one time and they wouldn't help me."

Deputies said the case with Jesse Gates began early Sunday morning. Pastor Henry Guyton said Jesse Gates had been a regular at the church for the past few months – and on Sunday he showed up to the church complaining of chest pains. He was checked out, and was medically cleared, but that wasn't the last they saw of him.

"He went home," Henry Guyton said. "He came back with a gun."

The pastor's grandson, Aaron Guyton, was the one with the concealed weapons permit in the church, and said he saw Gates when he came back.

"We noticed he pulled back up," Aaron Guyton said. "We noticed he went to the trunk of his car and pulled out a shotgun, so I went out with my gun and went through the back door and locked the door."

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Category: Church Security

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