The heroic actions of a Nashville pastor and several of his parishioners likely saved a church from violence on Sunday afternoon, according to KTLA’s sister station WKRN in Tennessee.
The Nashville Metropolitan Police Department reported that Dezire Baganda, 26, was sitting outside the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church when he pulled out a gun and walked towards the altar where Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana prayed with several church members.
Baganda told everyone to stand up as he waved and pointed the handgun at the congregation, Metro police said. The pastor quickly attacked Baganda before he could fire a shot. Several church members jumped in to help move the gun away from Baganda and hold him until police arrived, investigators said.
“He wanted to kill, that’s what first occurred to me,” Ndikumana told WKRN as choir member Nzojibugami Noe translated for him. Noe was also in the front row during the incident.
“He stood in front of almost everyone. No one was behind him yet, so he could have done anything, ”recalls Noe.
In a video shared by church members, Ndikumana can be seen pretending to walk out of the church, then walk behind Baganda and pin him to the ground.
“I would say God used me because I felt like I was going to use the back door as an example trying to get behind him. And then I had the feeling that I was going to catch it… and that’s what happened, ”said Ndikumana.
Baganda was not a member of the church, but the pastor said he attended services there. Church members say he was asked not to attend services last February after interrupting pastors during their sermons. However, participants said he was never violent.
He showed up for the 10 a.m. duty on Sunday and remained calm until the explosion at around 12:45 p.m.
The congregation credited Ndikumana with saving their lives, but he credited a Higher Power.
“God wanted to show that he is a powerful God,” Ndikumana explained. “One main thing I said, we had faith. “
Baganda was charged with 15 counts of aggravated assault. More charges should be added, according to police.
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