Incredible as it may seem, just one day after nine people were shot in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, worshipers at another black church in Virginia had to be saved by an armed off-duty police officer who stopped a crazed man threatening to copy the attack.
Parishioners at a church in Richmond quickly locked the doors and called the police when a man outside the building began screaming threats and racial slurs, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
A witness caught part of the terrifying moment on video.
The man called the worshipers “n—–s” and said, “I’m gonna kill all you and all you are gonna get killed tonight” while waiving what witnesses thought was a machete or a knife.
The congregation acted quickly to barricade themselves inside when the unidentified man began his racist tirade. An off-duty police officer – who was providing security for the church at the time of the incident – pulled her sidearm and managed to hold the man at gunpoint until police arrived on the scene.
Richmond police said the man was armed only with “a piece of plastic that resembled a weapon,” adding that the off-duty cop acted appropriately under the circumstances.
Police Capt. Chris Gleason later told the congregation that the incident had been unnerving, even for him.
“I never thought I’d see the day when police have to be at church,” he said.
Gleason told the New York Daily News that no one was injured in the incident and that the man would be held for 72 hours while undergoing a mental health evaluation. Charges, however, are unlikely, said officials with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, adding that it did not appear any laws were violated.
The name of the off-duty cop who protected her church was not released.