A Tennessee pastor sprung into action during Sunday service when a man seated in the front pew suddenly pulled out a gun and walked up to the altar.
Dezire Baganda, 26, pulled out a gun at Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church and walked up to the altar, where the pastor was praying with several members, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
Surveillance video shows the suspect waving the gun in his hand facing the worshippers. Police said he told everyone to get up and “pointed the handgun at the congregation.”
The pastor wasn’t having it. Video shows him approaching Baganda from behind and tackling him to the ground, as shocked members of the congregation ran out of the sanctuary. Other men standing near the altar jumped in to assist the pastor in detaining the gunman. They kept him pinned to the ground until officers arrived , police said.
Baganda, who never fired a shot, was not a member of the church. However, the pastor said he had attended services before, according to police. He was charged Sunday with 15 counts of felony aggravated assault, and multiple counts were expected to be added, police said.
Authorities praised the pastor’s actions as “heroic,” saying he saved the church from further violence.