Man shoots at pastor during church service, says God told him to do it

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A man has been arrested after he attempted to shoot the pastor of a church during a service at Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, US on Sunday. But his gun refused to fire.

The 26-year-old man identified as Bernard J. Polite wanted to gun down the pastor, saying, “God told me to do it”.

The incident happened when the Sunday service was ongoing, plunging the congregation into pandemonium as the service was being live-streamed.

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‘I ducked’

According to the police press release, Polite of Braddock entered the church just after 1 p.m. and walked towards the front while Rev Glenn Germany was delivering a sermon.

The pastor disclosed that Polite smiled at him and they made eye contact just before he pointed the gun at him.

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Germany then ducked out of the way as a male congregant tackled Polite, ABC News reports.

Germany and the member of the church then worked together to wrest the gun away from Polite, who was soon subdued and held until state troopers arrived.

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Polite said “God told me to do it” and that he planned to shoot Germany and “wait to be arrested” so he could go to jail and clear his mind, according to court documents.

He faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault and attempted homicide, and was being held Monday without bail at the Allegheny County Jail.

Also, state police said they did not know if Polite has an attorney, and county court records did not list one.

It added that the body of a shot victim was found in a home near the church where Polite had been shortly before going to the church, county police said.

The county Medical Examiner’s office identified the body Monday as Derek Polite, 56, of North Braddock, but did not say if he was related to Bernard Polite.

Polite was not known at the church, officials said. He wandered over to the church after hearing music coming from there, according to court documents.

‘You can hear the gun click’

Recounting the incident, Germany said, “I am feeling grateful that I woke up this morning and that I am here. It could have gone in the opposite direction. But God has intervened and I am grateful for him.”

“I’m so grateful,” he said. “You know, he shot. You can hear the gun click.”

The pastor said he saw Polite walk in and smile at him, but assumed he was coming to speak with another member of the church.

“But instead he came right here where I’m standing… and that’s where he just pulled out the gun,” he said. “I’m looking right down the barrel of the gun.”

Polite appeared to suffer from mental illness, Germany said, and told him he heard voices. “The voices were in his head and said ‘go shoot the pastor.’”

Polite is facing multiple charges, including attempted homicide. He was denied bail and is being detained at a jail in Pittsburgh ahead of a preliminary hearing next week.

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