Sunday service was both frightening and thrilling for a congregation at a Nashville, Tennessee, church after a man stood in front of the pulpit, not to preach the good word, but to brandish a gun at parishioners. Thankfully, this incident didn’t end in senseless tragedy and mass murder, but instead, it ended in a show of heroism by the church’s lead pastor as well as several in the congregation who helped subdue the gunman after the pastor tackled him.
According to CBS 17, police reported that 26-year-old Dezire Baganda was sitting at the front of the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church when he suddenly pulled his gun and walked up to the altar where Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana was praying with several members of the church.
“He wanted to kill, that’s what first came to my mind,” Ndikumana told reporters as choir member Nzojibugami Noe, who was in the front row during the scare, translated for him. “He was standing in the front of almost everybody. No one was behind him yet, so he could have done anything.”
Baganda was not a member of the church, but, according to Ndikumana, he had attended multiple services before and was asked in February not to return because he kept interrupting pastors during their sermons. But church members said he had never been violent before and on the day he came to the church armed, he had sat quietly from the time he arrived at 10 a.m. up until the moment he pulled his gun around 12:45 p.m.
Video footage shows Ndikumana pretending to exit the church after Baganda pulled his weapon, but instead of leaving, he snuck behind Baganda and tackled him. After that, several congregation members can be seen rushing to help hole the would-be assailant down.
“I would say that God used me because I felt like I was going to use the back door as an example as going on by trying to go behind him,” he said. “And then I felt the feeling that I would go and grab him…and that’s what happened.”
“God wanted to show that he’s a powerful God,” Ndikumana explained, in reference to his congregation members thanking him for saving their lives. “One main thing I said, we had faith.”
Whether you’re a believer or not, there’s no denying that it might have been Ndikumana’s that motivated his heroism.
Baganda has been charged with 15 counts of felony aggravated assault, and police said additional charges are expected to follow.
Not all heroes wear capes, but some of them wear the cloth.