Churchgoer pulls gun on congregation


News 13 reports…

“A Brevard County man has been arrested after police said he interrupted a Sunday church service in Melbourne and tried to rob people while armed with a BB gun.

Melbourne police said John Grace stood up in the middle of the service and started demanding money, and it was all caught on the pastor’s microphone, as the church was recording the service.

Pastor Leslie Snodgrass and his family said they were sending prayers of thanks following the terrifying scene inside the Door Christian Fellowship Church.

Investigators said as Snodgrass was preaching around 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Grace, 21, stood up and held what appeared to be a gun to a 76-year-old woman’s head, demanding money from the pastor.

In an audio recording released Monday, Snodgrass could be heard repeatedly begging Grace, whom he called “Johnny,” to stop and talk to him.

Snodgrass said Grace, who had been attending the church for about a year, then starting demanding money and threw cable ties on the ground, telling churchgoers to start tying themselves up with the cables.

Police said Grace then pulled out a knife.

“I’m thinking, is this real? Then he pulls it out of a sheath, and absolutely it’s a real knife,” Snodgrass recalled. “It was a kitchen knife — a butcher knife — with a blade of about 8 to 10 inches.”

Snodgrass’ 23-year-old daughter, Kaylee, managed to escape, ran out into the middle of the street and started banging on the window of the first car she saw stopped at a nearby traffic light.

“He rolled down his window and he said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I was screaming, I was crying,” said Kaylee Snodgrass. “I told him, there’s a man and he’s going to kill my family, he’s got a gun and a knife. I’m really scared.” said Kaylee Snodgrass.

The pastor and his son, Darius, eventually tackled and subdued Grace, and then called 911. Police arrived two minutes later as Snodgrass’ wife held a stun gun pointed at Grace.

As officers arrested Grace, it was revealed the gun used was a BB gun. No one was hurt during the incident.

But as police led Grace out of the church in handcuffs, Snodgrass gave him a message.

“Before he even left, I told him, ‘I don’t hate you. We forgive you, but you’re going to face justice, and you should,'” Snodgrass said.

Grace was charged with a total of 28 counts, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and false imprisonment. He was locked up in the Brevard County Jail without bond after appearing before a judge Monday.”


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