After the recent shooting at the church of Pastor Creflo Dollar, local preachers are starting to call for changes in how their churches are secured. In Washington DC, 20 people gathered for a morning prayer in honor of the man who was shot at World Changers Church International, where the victim was allegedly killed by a former maintenance worker.
Floyd Palmer has been identified as the shooter, and he was taken into custody on Wednesday. Police are stating that Palmer may have some mental illness issues.
“We have security, but our security officers are not armed. But that might have to change at a time when armed persons come into churches for robberies, deranged persons come in with issues,” said the Rev. Henry P. Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church of Highland Park. “I still go back to the issue where there is too much access to guns, and it is a very critical issue.”
Rev. Grainger Browning of the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church told TheRoot DC that he’s long wondered about security problems in churches, where quite a few individuals have been killed in recent years.
“We have a retired Prince George’s County police officer who is head of our security, and we have four fulltime security persons and 10 law enforcement officers who volunteer on Sunday,” he said.
“In these times, people become very desperate. When you have a congregation of 8,000, there may be persons who are mentally unstable, and you never know what is going on.”
Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, says that violence can often happen at churches because they are open, loving places to visit. Some might be tempted to take advantage of this. Lynch says that many domestic violence victims are confronted at church, thieves steal purses, and other things happen because the spirit of trust is so strong.
“Churches are being left with little choice but to add more security personnel,” Lynch said.