Nashville, TN – A Nashville pastor has been called a hero after he tackled a gun-wielding man who was terrorizing his congregation on Sunday (video below).
The incident occurred at about 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 7 during a church service at the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church in the 900-block of West Trinity Lane, the Tennessean reported.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) spokesman Don Aaron said Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana was praying with several parishioners up at the altar when a man sitting up by the front of the church suddenly jumped out of his seat, WKRN reported.
Aaron said 26-year-old Dezire Baganda pulled a handgun out of his waistband and started waving it at the congregation.
As Baganda waved his gun and shouted orders at the parishioners in the pews in front of him, Ndikumana snuck up behind him and tackled him to the ground.
“He wanted to kill, that’s what first came to my mind,” Ndikumana told WKRN through a translator.
The surveillance video from the church showed that the pastor lunged at the much-younger man from behind and took him to his knees.
The video showed that once Baganda was on the ground, several other members of the church jumped in to assist the pastor in subduing the armed man.
Police said that parishioners held Baganda down until police arrived to arrest him, the Tennessean reported.
Nzojibugami Noe, a church member who witnessed the incident, said there were 68 people in the church when Baganda pulled out his gun.
“It happened real fast,” Noe recalled.
He said he had his eyes closed when Baganda first got up, the Tennessean reported.
“I came to open my eyes when I heard him [the suspect] say, ‘Do you think I’m playing with you?'” Noe recalled.
He described the pastor’s sneak attack on the armed man a David-and-Goliath kind of confrontation, the Tennessean reported.
“He snuck right behind me as soon as he got up and snagged to the left pretending to go out, then quickly quickly got on him. It was very amazing,” Noe said.
He told the Tennessean that earlier in the service he had prayed for God to fill him with the Holy Spirit and give the church the strength that David had when he fought Goliath.
“Forty minutes after my prayer that happened and God used the pastor to tackle him — a man who could have killed many people,” Noe said. “We are blessed.”
Police arrested Baganda and booked him into the Davidson County jail on 57 counts of felony aggravated assault, the Tennessean reported.
Aaron said that as he was being taken into custody, the gunman told police that he was Jesus and that “all churches and schools need to be shot up.”
Baganda remained in jail in lieu of a $375,000 bond.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday and is expected to have his bond raised at that time, the Tennessean reported.
The pastor said that Baganda was not a member of the church but he had attended services several times in the past.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
HERO ALERT: Nashville Pastor tackles, disarms gunman who stormed altar during Sunday service pic.twitter.com/VYZOYFHCog
— T. Grant Benson (@GrantB911) November 8, 2021