A pastor was stabbed during a Bible study session at a Virginia church, but was saved by quick-thinking congregation members.
The horrific attack took place on Saturday around 3pm at the Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly, Virginia, located about 25 miles west of Washington DC during a Bible study class.
Chance Harrison, 32, an alleged member of the church, entered the venue and stabbed the pastor ‘without provocation’.
Two church members – one of them Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler – jumped to the pastor’s defense and subdued Harrison.
In the confrontation the pastor was stabbed and a man who intervened was also stabbed. Roessler also suffered minor injuries during the confrontation.
‘He did his part in the moment,’ a witness said on Roessler’s defense of the pastor to ABC News.
‘Sometimes we can’t prevent injury. I know people were injured but it could have been worse, I do believe. I think it could have been a lot worse. There are a lot of emotions but I do have faith that everything is going to be okay,’ the witness added.
Investigators said a knife believed to be used by Harrison was recovered at the scene, as per WJLA.
Police have not released a motive behind the stabbing.
Church attendees say that the congregation was holding a special class and Bible study for members the day of the attack meant for people who wanted to become members of the church or simply wanted to strengthen their faith.
‘The people are very friendly and very nice, especially the pastor. It’s really scary. This doesn’t have to happen in church. This is my congregation and I’m very sad,’ a church member said to WUSA9.
Following the incident Brett Fuller, another pastor at Grace Covenant Church and chaplain to Washington DC’s NFL franchise released a statement saying: ‘Today, in a routine church educational setting, one of our pastors was assaulted by an attendee.’
‘Two church members came to the pastor’s aid and valiantly risked their own lives to defend him. In the process, one of our members was injured. ..The assailant was taken into captivity at the scene.’
He added: ‘We are in prayer for all the injured. We are grateful for the courage exhibited that prevented worse from happening.’
Two people were treated for non-serious non life-threaning injuries at Reston Hospital and the suspect was taken into custody.
On Sunday Harrison was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, one count of felony assault on a police officer, and one count of misdemeanor assault.
Police say he is being held without bond.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Marlene Lenthang