Men arrested for disrupting church services

| August 31, 2009

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Police captured three suspects Sunday, accused of bursting in and disrupting services inside two churches.

It was a situation that created a real scare for church members.

Shreveport Police say the man first ran into the Heritage Baptist Church at Kirby Street and Creswell Avenue, yelling ‘God is dead,’ and a few other things, before getting escorted out.

"I thought it was humorous in the sense that if there’s no God why spend so much of your time trying to disprove that which doesn’t exist," said Heritage Baptist Church Pastor Earl Blackburn.

Then it happened again just a mile away at First Baptist Church of Shreveport on Ockley Drive.

"It was right in the middle of service. He just came in and started screaming about God isn’t real and it’s all fake, it’s all a lie," said church member Michael Morales.

"It was just very disturbing," said Morales wife, Elizabeth.

Morales says he and several other men watched the man go outside and get into a pick-up truck with two others passengers.

"A couple of guys called the cops as soon as he walked out and we gave them a great description of the guys and of their truck and we got their license plate number," said Morales.

Police quickly found the truck and charged the driver with DWI. They believe he had just dropped off the other two men at Highland Park, where the men were eventually arrested.

"I just checked with detectives in major crimes and we’re going to try to book them in under a hate crime. This could have gotten out of hand quick," said Shreveport Police Sgt. Chad Zimmerman.

It’s what could have happened that led to so much fear.

"We have our baby in the classroom so I just got scared wondering if these guys are going to do any violence," Morales said. "(You don’t know if) they’re going to take out a gun or start shooting or what was going to happen."

His wife Elizabeth agreed. "You never know with all the things going on," she said.

Others called the stunt the height of disrespect.

"What in the world brought them to us today? We didn’t need that," said church member Eleanor Burgin.

The stunt also happened on Pastor Greg Hunt’s final day at First Baptist.

"My heart goes out to anybody who, for whatever reason, is a troubled spirit and my prayer would be that this would be an occasion where they could experience some of the love and grace of God," he said.

Police said it appears all three men had been drinking and the one who went into the churches was dared to do it.

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Category: Church Security

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