View Full Version : Armed robbery at church.

January 18, 2007, 10:22 AM
Back in the mid 1970s, two men came into the Ridgetop Church of Christ (Ridgetop, TN) during the services. One man had a gun and the other had a knife. They went around collecting the goods and then left. They did not actually touch anybody (as in, to search them).

The men in the congregation felt impotent. The women were crying.

This was before Tennessee had legal concealed carry for civilians.

If you were in church, and if you were carrying, and if such a thing happened, would you confront the men? Would you simply start shooting?

BTW, there was some speculation that the men who robbed the church were the same men who killed "Stringbean" (of Hee Haw fame) and his wife. They are, I'm sure, still in prison.

January 18, 2007, 10:45 AM
Even though legal in Texas, I don't carry in Church on Sunday when I am in worship. Nothing sinful per se about it, but it's a matter or respect. I think it better to leave work, guns and other concerns outside and have my full attention on worshiping the Lord. 150 years ago when people could freely carry guns openly, they would take their guns off before going to church.

BUT, having said that, if I did decide to wear it for whatever reason, if one of them has a gun I would pull my gun and shoot if I felt I had a clear shot and could kill the crooks without putting other members of the congregation at risk.

January 18, 2007, 10:54 AM
The reason I ask is because I drive about 30 minutes to church through some pretty desolate country. Sometimes I carry a handgun but, the parking lot is also pretty isolated, so I don't leave it in my truck. I'll have it in my backpack/briefcase.

Anyway, last night I had my Glock 17 in my backpack and started thinking about the above scenario. I just wondered what the "trained" among us thinks about shooting with innocents present.

January 18, 2007, 11:01 AM
You can NEVER "simply start shooting", especially when there are innocent by-standers! If I was in church and armed, and the bad guys started shooting and cutting people, THEN I would jump into action!

A few years back, a crazed swordsman entered a nearby Catholic Church during Mass. He was not there to rob the congregation, he was just nuts, and started flailing his sword around as he cursed. None of the church members were armed, so the nut was able to injure several of them before he finally ran out of the church. Fortunately, he didn't kill anyone!

Here's one for you! A small police agency (Palos Verdes P.D., CA) decided to hold a training session for all of their supervisorial personnel. The training session was held at a posh hotel in an adjoining city (Torrance, CA), in one of their conference rooms. The posh hotel had a "No guns allowed" policy, so all of the police supervisors were told to go to the training without carrying any firearms. (By the way, the training session was on the "touchy/feely" subject of tolerance).

Well, after the training session had started, a "Ninja" stormed into the conference room. I am NOT kidding....the suspect was wearing an all black "Ninja"-type outfit! At first, the police supervisors thought that the "Ninja" was a part of the training session....that is, until he fired a few shots and announced that he was robbing the place!

One of the police Sergeants stood up and began to approach the "Ninja", but he was immediately shot! Other police supervisors reacted, with more shots fired by the suspect, until they were able to "swarm" the "Ninja" and disarm him. Unfortunately, the Palos Verdes Chief of Police was also hit....and eventually died. The "Ninja" also died after being "swarmed"....supposedly from suffocation!

It was a total fluke! That particular conference room had previously been set aside for a diamond and jewelry dealers convention, but the conference rooms had been switched at the last moment! The "Ninja" hadn't been aware of the switch!

Oh, and the "Ninja" turned out to be the son of a very well-respected Superior Court Judge, and happened to be of Japanese ancestry!

A couple of months after the "Ninja" incident, there was a "command inspection" for all of the police officers that worked at my station. There were 300+ officers that would be standing inspection, and the inspection site was a local high school football field. The Command Staff didn't want ANY officers to have LOADED firearms, nor even have ACCESS to ammo during the inspection! I brought up the "Ninja" incident to my Captain, and ended up being the officer-in-charge of a small ARMED security group that would patrol around the football field. At least we all (security group) didn't have to be "spit & polished"....and nothing bad happened!

This is a crazy world!

Blackwater OPS
January 18, 2007, 01:00 PM
For some reason this thread is causing severe deja vu for me....

tony pasley
January 18, 2007, 07:45 PM
I carry and remember Dallas 1999, several robberies of churches in Kentucky and you can go on and on.

January 18, 2007, 07:49 PM
P&R, . . . as the church pastor, . . . and a CHL holder, . . . I can see both ends of this rainbow, . . . and it is a danged if you do, . . . darned if you don't situation.

I do not carry myself during worship services, . . . I have far too many more important things to address than a possible weapon need (but I do carry most of the other times).

That said, . . . my plan is simple, . . . if robbery is the only game they want to play, . . . they get the goods with no trouble, . . . no problem, . . . no sweat. On the other hand, . . . there are several other CHL holders, . . . and they have full permission to do as they see fit if someone starts shooting or cutting.

Yes, . . . it is a crazy world, . . . but I'm bound some day for a better one:D

May God bless,

Ala Dan
January 18, 2007, 07:56 PM
I don't think the LORD would think its disrespectful too protect yourself,
your valuables, and HIS assets. As a matter of fact, he gives us enough
sense in order to use our judgement too do so. I can truthfully say that
I would do what was necessary to protect my family; and the rest of
the congregation from harm. If this meant wearing a concelaed firearm,
then so be it~!

And BTW, yes I would shoot the perp; but ONLY if I had a clear and
unobstructed shot that didn't put any bystanders in harms way.

January 18, 2007, 08:29 PM
You bet I carry! I have a Galco Ankle Holster which hides my G23, 19, or 26 quite nicely!

I wish every police officer or legal CCW holder would carry in church! Attacks can happen anywhere.

January 18, 2007, 08:36 PM
If I'm on call, I carry all my gear on me including my CQB, 2 mags and cuffs. The responses range from "I can't believe he is carrying a gun in Church" :mad: to "He is on call but still comes to church". :) If I'm not on call, a J frame sits in my pocket and no one knows. Everyone there knows that I'm a Detective and I bet if something happened, the haters would expect me to do something. I'd feel awful worthless if I couldn't. I take on that responsibility every time I leave the house. For the record, I go to a large Church in a small town where most of the Congregation is pretty well off. Some are plain dang wealthy. I'm one of the few "common people" but I've been going all my life and my Grandfather was a member for 70 years. I go to church to worship God and am not worried about the opinion of others.

As far as a robbery goes, it's pretty far fetched but it could happen. Our offering averages a little less than $10,000 each Sunday. I don't say that to brag but to show what an attractive target it could make. I would rather engage any robbers outside but may not have that luxury.

January 18, 2007, 08:53 PM
I'm pretty sure my state (MN) allows places like churches to ban guns. I know my church has a sign on the door saying guns are banned from the premises.

Big Don
January 18, 2007, 09:25 PM
I have always carried in church. My pastor gave me a hug one day and commented on the pistol that he brushed up against under my shirt. He is also a shooter and gave me a wink and an "attaboy." ;)
The firearm is a hunk of metal and/or plastic. It’s what you do with it that matters. Our Lord knows my heart and has given me the brains to know when/where/why to use force. I too would have the piece ready but not use it if robbery were the only intent. However, if the BG starts pointing his gun at anyone in a threatening manner then I'll take my shot, if possible and given a safe background. I do not want to kill anyone because I do not need the legal grief in my life but given the choices, I will.
As to not being allowed to carry in certain buildings: If it's for personal reasons, I don't go in if they don't like my gun, even if it's a church. I don’t want to give my money to businesses that think guns are “bad’, in most cases. Sometimes, it can’t be avoided, such as with Costco. If there’s no metal detector then what do they know? It’s supposed to be concealed, right?
Desert Shooter, I was living in So Cal when that incident occurred and was very aware of the situation because my parents lived in PV Estates. It was a bad deal all the way around and the topic of much discussion among our shooting community.

January 18, 2007, 09:30 PM
I carry when I leave the house. The Church isn't in my house so I carry at church. Which according to my wife, I don't do quite enough anymore.

I would fire if I had the shot and believed that lives were in danger. I wouldn't fire to stop a robbery. Only in defense of life.

January 18, 2007, 09:38 PM
Here in the "Wonderful State of Maryland" Churchville had just the very same thing happen. Maryland doesn't hardly allow for crapola CCWs (protection). I don't rightly know if "church" can be classified as a business to protect cash. :rolleyes:
The criminal can conceal carry firearms all day long but the law abiding public cannot except for a very, very few.
Murder rate very high. Violent crime very high.
Maryland: Keeping us safe from ourselves!:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

January 18, 2007, 10:44 PM
I carry any time I can.

Shooting when innocents are present: You have to weigh the consequences of inaction against the possible consequences of action. If there's a guy TRYING to kill people and a guy trying NOT to kill people, which of them is the biggest danger to the innocents?

January 18, 2007, 10:55 PM
including at my church in WRJ VT.

Not all of us born-again believers are worldly sheep.

Threaten my brothers and sisters with deadly force, and you'll be before the Lord in a few short seconds.


January 19, 2007, 12:11 AM
Threaten my brothers and sisters with deadly force, and you'll be before the Lord in a few short seconds.

I like it!

Blackwater OPS
January 19, 2007, 12:16 AM
Threaten my brothers and sisters with deadly force, and you'll be before the Lord in a few short seconds.

Unless you are armed with something bigger than a handgun, there is at least an 80% chance that won't be the case.

gordo b.
January 19, 2007, 12:27 AM
Unless you are trained to hit the snotlocker under stress!:D

January 19, 2007, 08:21 AM
In all the church shootings there has been......

1) No divine intervention stopping the violent act.
2) No legions of angel to save the day.

In Glock We Trust.

January 19, 2007, 08:40 AM
I carry everywhere I go [except when I'll be drinking] to include church. I have an IWB holster that is easily covered with a jacket or sweater. My pastor as well as his wife both carry and there's a LE guy who may/may not be carrying at the time. If a BG came in, he may soon come to regret it!
Now, considering the close proximity of a large number of people in church, every precaution must be taken to get a clear shot [know your target & what's behind it].
There's two entrances to the sanctuary & I usually sit between them. The LE guy sits a couple rows behind me [I don't know if he sits there for the same reason, but if anything went down, he'd be in a good place too].

Hard Ball
January 19, 2007, 02:06 PM
"Gun free" zones simoly encourage criminal attacks.

January 19, 2007, 02:18 PM
The biggest thing I carry into a church is my shillelagh. I won't pack a firearm into a house of God. If I get robbed, well so be it. I'd never discharge a firearm in a church.

My $0.02.

Edison Carter
January 19, 2007, 05:58 PM
Be sure your family understands that you will not defend them in "God's House"... anywhere else, BUT NOT THERE. Tell us how they like that.

If you are willing to let your wife or children or an innocent bystander be killed in your church, because you interpret being defenseless as being more "respectful" to God, you are welcome to explain it to HIM.

Personally, that is NOT a burden I want to carry when I meet with the Almighty.

I always believed God helps those who help themselves.
I'll lay down my arms when God sends me an email telling me he'll protect me from the heathen.


January 20, 2007, 12:02 AM
I understand having respect for God.

God is omnipresent. If it is disrespectful to carry a firearm to protect yourself and others in church, wouldn't it be disrespectful to carry anywhere else, too?

January 20, 2007, 01:15 AM
I won't pack a firearm into a house of God. If I get robbed, well so be it. I'd never discharge a firearm in a church.

It's interesting that we're equating the church "building" with the "church."

Whatever synonyms are used to refer to the "church", viz., "family" or "body", all refer to the people. Not a building.

In fact, the word for "church" in the Greek (the language the Bible is written in), is ekklasia. Literally translated, it is "the called out." I.e., those who are "called out" of the world to come into the church of Christ. (Rom. 16:16)

The people are the church. Not the building. The building is just where the people happen to be when they worship. Or sometimes eat. Or maybe even play games. But there is nothing holy about bricks and lumber.

January 20, 2007, 11:07 PM
I make it a habit to be armed as often as possible, including Church. A few weeks ago, my Parish Priest mildly criticized Islam, so I'm expecting something to happen.

January 21, 2007, 04:01 AM
Not for anything, some here are stating that if the guy was killing/shooting people then they would step in, but if it was a simple robbery they would not.

Now i pose this question to those that have said that...

The guy is waving a gun around demanding $, first 5 people he hits up, just give him the cash/jewlry no problem. next guy can't find his wallet ect...BG has had the gun trained on each and every person he robbed so far. BG gets pissed that old man can't find his wallet fast enough and shoots him.

Would you feel bad now, that you didnt do anything for the first 30 seconds, b/c you THOUGHT it was just a robbery and no one would be injured?

And how do you tell if the guys came in to kill people, AFTER they start shooting and killing people? You're already too late you could have possibly stopped it well before any innocents got intentionally shot.

The whole point is, is that when someone points a gun at someone else, with the intent to rob/kill/force that person to do something ect. the time it takes for the BG to pull the trigger is in the blink of an eye! You must assume that the BG is going to shoot as soon as the gun is pointed at anyone

My opinion of course.....

January 21, 2007, 01:46 PM
Up front, let me say that I have scrupulously obeyed the laws concerning going armed and as a retired law enforcement officer have done so most of my adult life.

There have recently been church robberies in several states and over the years instances of armed gunmen killing and wounding persons inside places of worship. In NONE of these situations did members BELIEVE that something like that could EVER happen THERE!

Google "Wedgwood Baptist Church Shootings" and read what occurred on 9-22-99 in Ft. Worth, TX BEFORE you decide what your position on carrying concealed in church should be.

January 21, 2007, 04:31 PM
just a matter of time and BG has your piece then what , pls dont hurt me , i would not hand it over without a struggle. if you gotto go at least youre in the right ous place

January 29, 2007, 03:05 AM
If a person comes into a church, for whatever reason, and is waving a firearm around while demanding money, he is threatening great bodily harm to everyone there. I can't think of a more "righteous" shoot than to protect those that are targeted simply because they are in a house of worship!

I would sacrifice any jail time to save fellow parishioners from deadly force from a person that neither respects fellow humans or a higher being's place of worship.

I will not attempt a shot unless I am sure of the target. My church is about 70 yds by 40 yds. with a couple alcoves. The chances of the miscreant being positioned without parishioners between or beyond him and I, is so very remote that I doubt I could get positioned in time without being spotted due to the reaction of fellow parishioners. (I sit at the outside end of a pew always). But just my duck-walking with a firearm up the line of pews would generate reactions from people, thereby drawing attention to myself and risking a panicked outburst from the gunman (or gunmen).

It would be just too much chaos and panic to be able to react responsibly unless in the perfect spot to react. But, given the opportunity, I would fire ASAP, but then only because I was was armed in church to begin with. Way too many stars have to line up for it ever to happen for me to save my church goers, and I just hope a fellow packer doesn't just start firing in the general direction of the evil-doer to make him force his hand and start firing randomly!

Firing in a place with hundreds of people in a tight place is always going to be bad news, whether it is a good guy or a bad guy, or both, doing the firing!

Do I carry in church? Always.

Someone intent on doing harm upon others has no respect for laws, religion, humans, etc.. He is a predator seeking out the easiest prey.
I will not be that prey, nor will I allow those around me to be easy prey, as much as I can.

January 29, 2007, 07:50 AM
The news this morning is reporting an armed robbery of a church in Ohio, by a man and a woman. They were tackled by the ushers as they were attemting to escape. Not real bright tackling armed robbers, it would have been much better if they were stopped by a concealed carrier. I believe they said that a parishoner was injured during the robbery. Church robberies are getting more and more frequent.

January 29, 2007, 07:55 PM
Talk about a robbery gone bad, . . . Columbus, Ohio catholic church that was target of robbers on Sunday 1/28:

1) Bg's (guy & gal) targeted a chuch on a street that is known for shootings, muggings, beatings, you name it: every one of those parishioners has been through that (or something like it), . . . so the only big deal was it followed them to church.

2) The guy will have several years to brag how he had a gun, . . . yet he got caught, beat up, and sat upon by 4 senior citizens who didn't want to put up with his schenanigans, . . . gun or no gun, . . . just grabbed him like they was strong safeties and he was the quarterback on the other team.

3) Pastor said he knew for sure they weren't church going folk, . . . didn't bother to ask for the collection plate full of greenbacks, . . . went for the purses laying in the pews.

May not be funny to most, . . . but sure made my day :D :D :D

May God bless,

January 29, 2007, 10:49 PM
God loves guns. :D
Being in a church is like being in a mall; crowded with lots of people. I would try to duck out a back door. Two people taking on an entire congregation? Read the thread about protecting a 3rd party. If you are one of 100 people and in the back of the room, are you really in immediate risk with 99 bodies in front of you? The guys have a knife and a 6, 10 or 15 round handgun or a 6000 round chain gun :cool: they just lifted from the National Guard? How many lefties in the house? How many would testify they didn't feel in danger of death or GBH and that the guys with weapons just needed cash for food and a warm place to sleep and that you were the real aggressor because you could have run out the back door or given them the 15.00 in your wallet. The stigma associated with taking a gun into church will by itself probably bury you with a jury, regardless of how many others carry in the “house of god”. ;)

Ask yourself this:
“Is this situation worth the $50K to $100K it will cost me for a criminal defense or if a civil case is lost, how will I like making a lifetime of payments to someone I hate”. :eek:

I have carried in church and I would have no problem shooting someone but my life or my wife's life has to be in immediate and unavoidable jeopardy of death or GBH before I will pull the trigger. :(

If you want to be really safe and not worry about any of this, attend service via the TV or a pod cast and donate via paypal. :)

good luck.

February 2, 2007, 01:07 PM
Our physical bodies are a gift from God. We have not only the right but the responsibility to defend ourselves, our families, and our friends from predators. It doesn't matter where.

February 3, 2007, 10:40 AM
Situation defined as public gathering (Church); innocent civilians present, with two armed criminals. My reaction: Observation only. Law enforcement issue; supply LE with descriptions of criminals.
Five basic tactical considerations prior to Use of Deadly Force: Choice of Time; Choice of weapon, Choice of numbers (in this case; two individuals), Choice of Location, and Intent (robbery; rather than terrorisistic massacre, say)...My response would be patience, and memorizing details for later testimony. If (hypothetically), it were assigned to me to neutralize threat, I would seek to align as many of the five advantages listed above prior to making any sort of confrontation. As it stands, the criminals hold the tactical high-ground. Track to open ground, free field of fire; at conditions of my advantage. Thankfully, I was long-ago relieved of my post. God bless Law Enforcement.
(811501-A-1: Attack Sentry Dog Handler)

February 8, 2007, 12:00 AM
out of Ohio. (Yes, the same place that banned Assualt weapons what ever they are) about the two clowns that robbed a church during Mass, four SENIOR men engaged the clowns until the LEO's arrived.

from the www.mcrgo.org website

The Michigan Catholic church made the mistake of endorsing the ballot initiative to vote on Michigan CPL law when it passed, did so from the pulpit.
Needless to say their tithe diminished.
When a Catholic group wanted to get petition signed for voting on same sex proposal, the church wouldn't let them. Appears they got leaned on from thier liberal partners.

February 8, 2007, 02:31 AM
Churches and other houses of worship have been targets for just about as long as they been around. They were shocked back when the viking would raid the places and take all the silver. No difference nowadays. They unfortantly make easy targets most the time and have plenty of cash and other goodies present to make it a robbery target.

Many churches now, including the one I go to train a security team. At our church that I occasionally go to here in NC they have on hand a couple of armed ushers and some tasers for such siturations, though the people on the team are made to go through training at a professional centre and required to perform practice drills and so on. Of course its not like they can use deadly force to stop a robbery here, but a pyscho going off needs to be stopped.

February 8, 2007, 06:43 AM
Although it wouned up in another columb for ammo. it aplies here also and in most cases it will apply through out life , befor my input into f.l.f. as a tech or better, gunsmith. i,ll repete it hear.. as a little boy my mother taught me to. ( " Live and let live ") Think about that.... Ziggygunsmith:confused:

Big Don
February 8, 2007, 07:33 PM
"i,ll repete it hear.. as a little boy my mother taught me to. ( " Live and let live ") Think about that.... Ziggygunsmith"
Welcome to TFL but I'm not too sure what you mean here. Are you saying you wouldn't shoot a BG who's pointing a weapon at you and sure seems like he means to harm you? That's what this thread is about: self defense and the defense of others who can't defend themselves while in a house of worship.
Just wondering :confused:

February 13, 2007, 02:44 AM
This is the guy that got tackled by the four parishoners


Armed and HUGE!