Sunday service at Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church started right on time and was running smoothly. But by the end, things had turned scary.
A man approached the altar, recalled pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana. “He pointed a gun to us, and I said to myself, we are already dead.”
Ndikumana said he couldn’t believe what was happening. Video from inside the church shows the moments in real-time. Police say the man, later identified as Dezire Baganda, pulled a gun out and walked up to the altar where the pastor was praying with several church members.
The pastor says he knew he needed to act in order to save lives.
“He told the people to move or to get up while he was pointing the gun at everyone around here. In this situation, by grabbing him it was either die or grab him to where he doesn’t hurt anybody.”
Church leaders say Baganda stayed for the entire service — it was towards the end when, they say, he got up and waved his gun.
“I’m grateful, very grateful to God how he used us to where no one got hurt. And he was able to protect us through that way.”
This isn’t the first-time church leaders say the 26-year-old suspect visited the church. They say the last time was February where he tried to preach the word of God during service. Now church leaders will determine if they should hire security or not. The gunman now faces multiple charges.