Sunnyvale Deacon Beaten During Sunday Services

| December 1, 2009

Three robbers used a place of worship in Sunnyvale to commit a violent crime against a 77-year-old church deacon Sunday.

Bill Hammett of Mesquite was ordained as a deacon 40 years ago. He says self-defense was not part of his training.

"I'm not going to go down without a fight, Church is not a place for a fight, but sometimes you have to defend yourself wherever you're at" says Hammett.

Dallas County sheriff's deputies say Hammett was beaten and robbed during Sunday morning services at Sunnyvale First Baptist Church.

While 2,000 people worshipped inside the sanctuary, Hammett was locking up thousands of dollars in collections in the church office safe. A few minutes later, he came across three men, ages 18 to 20. Hammett says he assumed they were members of the congregation.

"The black man had black slacks on and a nice sports shirt. The two white guys had blue jeans on and real nice shirts on."

The retired photographer says the men demanded money. Hammett says he believes the robbers were after the Sunday offering donated by the congregation.

"I told them I didn't have any money and they said, we'll see about that. That's when one of the guys grabbed me by the left arm and the other guy grabbed me by the right."

The determined deacon was not about to go down without a fight. Hammett says he took out one of the robbers.

"I slugged him in the throat with my fist. He went down. About that same time, the other two hit me upside the head and I went down."

Hammett, who had to be taken to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for his injuries, says the robbers struck him several times in the head and neck with a club.

Dallas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kim Leach says the robbers only got away with Hammett's wallet and cash.

The 77-year-old says next time, his attackers might not be so lucky. "A deputy sheriff asked me, what would I have done if I had a pistol handy? I said, I would have shot them and I would have shot to kill."

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Category: Church Security

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