Witnesses: Man Tackled After Threat To Shoot Mom In Church

| May 24, 2010

PITTSBURGH — Parishioners sprang into action Sunday morning at a Mount Oliver church where a man threatened to shoot his mother after pulling out a weapon, which was later determined to be a BB gun, Pittsburgh police said.

The suspect — identified as Robert Irvin, 23, of the Mt. Washington area — was arrested on charges including aggravated assault, terroristic threats and simple assault, police said.

People at the church said they were thankful that security guards stepped in to stop the situation from getting worse. Witnesses said quick-thinking security guards prevented chaos inside Potter's House Ministries on Ormsby Avenue.

"I was in the back. I seen it, though. It was pretty scary," parishioner Tyreesha Hutchinson said.

Witnesses said the man entered the church through a side door and pulled out the gun and said, "I'm going to shoot her," police said.

Security staff hired to work Sundays at the church quickly tackled the man, witnesses said.

"As he came into the side, there was a couple guys that I guess seen the commotion going on and he was about to do something, so they tackled him and that's when they got him, and a couple guys got on top of him and took him off," said Precious Anderson, a parishioner.

Police said security guards noticed the young man fumbling around during services, so they asked his stepfather to take him outside. Police said the stepfather took the young men outside and they talked before the young man pulled out the gun and hit his stepfather with it, cutting his ear.

Bishop Otis Carswell, the church's senior pastor, said the victim is a deacon at the church. He also said he saw the young man before services.

"I pulled over and spoke to him and said, 'Hello, and asked him if he was coming to service today, and he said he was," Carswell said. "I just blessed him and kept going, never thinking that he would cause an incident today."

Carswell said the young man has some issues, but he would not elaborate. He said parishioners will be praying for him.



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Category: Church Security

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