Cape Girardeau church rethinking security after church service d - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau church rethinking security after church service disruption days before SC shooting

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

An interruption in a Cape Girardeau, Missouri church last Sunday, just days before the massacre in South Carolina, now has members asking “What if?”

“The situation could have been totally different. To this day, I don't know if he had a weapon,” Soulful Harvest Ministries Pastor Scott Johnson said.

It's been 48-hours since that tragic attack on Emanuel Church in Charleston, but one Cape Girardeau congregation said it's been almost a week since a disturbance during their church service.

Now, they're making some scary comparisons with the two incidents.

Pastor Johnson said, though it wasn't the magnitude of the attack in South Carolina, both events have him rethinking security at his church and asking what if things would have gone differently?

“Right after we got started, a gentleman walked up the street and instantly he turned around and he attempted to come into the church,” Pastor Johnson said.

At Soulful Harvest, Pastor Johnson said they usually welcome new faces, but this time, the visitor wasn't there to worship.

“So then when the pastor walked up, his voice just kind of changed. And I'm like something is not right here,” said Church Member Betty Mosley.

Mosley said the man made quite the scene, speaking in strange voices, yelling, and acting very odd.

“He began to start biting his hands and trying to tear his flesh,” Pastor Johnson said.

That's when Pastor Johnson said the disturbance went too far.

“He leaned over and he thought he was dripping blood on the bible and that's when I snatched it away from him,” Pastor Johnson said.

While the man didn't physically hurt anyone, Johnson said he noticed similarities in alleged killer Dylann Roof and the man who came in last Sunday.

“It was almost eerie. The same demonic look, like no life in the eyes, just that evil dead stare,” Pastor Johnson said.

Now, he and his congregation are thinking twice about church security.

“You have to watch what's coming through your doors at all times,” Mosley said.

As pastor and one of the only men in the church, Johnson said he feels responsibility.

“I got to do what I got to do to protect them even if it means my life,” Pastor Johnson said.

That's why he's putting together a safety plan.

“What to do, what not to do. How to remove ourselves. If I feel in my spirit that I need to ask someone if they're bringing any weapons in, I feel like it's ok for me to do that. And I will do that,” Pastor Johnson said.

And from now on, he and church members will be on guard.

“We are going to be double covered. So we are going to be watching who walks up in here,” Mosley said.

Soulful Harvest is a predominantly black church and the man who came in was white. Pastor Scott said after the man left the church, he continued to walk the block, yelling and also tried to come back inside. That's when police showed up.

Pastor Johnson encourages churches to call police if they have similar disturbances or feel unsafe.

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