Gunman Tries to Assassinate Pastor

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Terror struck a Pennsylvania church on Sunday, May 5th, 2024, when a gunman attempted to assassinate the pastor during a live-streamed service. Luckily for the pastor, the weapon malfunctioned, and the clergyman, aided by a courageous congregant, managed to subdue the attacker.

The incident unfolded at Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, around 1:00 p.m. Pastor Glenn Germany was delivering his sermon when 26-year-old Bernard Polite approached the pulpit and allegedly pointed a gun directly at him. The horrifying scene was captured by the church’s livestream camera.

“I’m thankful to God that I’m still here, because he definitely pulled the trigger,” Pastor Germany recounted later to WTAE, a local ABC affiliate.

Churchgoers reported seeing Polite smile at Pastor Germany before approaching the pulpit. When Polite pulled the trigger, the gun did not discharge. Without hesitation, a church deacon named Clarence McCallister sprang into action, tackling Polite to the ground. Pastor Germany then joined the struggle, and together they were able to disarm and restrain Polite until the police arrived.

“All of a sudden, I just saw a gun pointing right at me,” Pastor Germany told WTAE. “And at that point, all I could do was run for cover.”

Police arrived shortly after the incident and arrested Polite. He is facing charges of attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault, and recklessly endangering another person. Court records show that he was arraigned early Monday morning and denied bail. He is currently being held at the Allegheny County Jail, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 13th, 2024.

The motive behind the attack remains unclear. Pastor Germany reported to WTAE that he had never seen Polite before the incident. Polite has not yet entered a plea and it is unknown if he has secured legal representation.

Adding a layer of mystery to this case, relatives discovered the body of a man shot to death in Polite’s home later that evening, when they went to the home after hearing about the church shooting. The victim was identified as 56-year-old Derek Polite, Bernard’s cousin. 

Investigators believe the shooting occurred around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, prior to the incident at the church. There were no signs of forced entry or struggle in the residence. 

An autopsy determined that Derek Polite died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The ballistics tests confirmed that the bullet recovered from the victim matched the weapon confiscated from Bernard Polite at the church.

Bernard Polite has since been charged with homicide in connection with Derek Polite’s death. Investigators are still working to determine a motive in both the shooting and the attempted attack on Pastor Germany. The pastor related that Polite said to him, “The spirits were in my mind. They got in my mind and told me to shoot the pastor.”

The attempted murder of Pastor Germany has left the Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church community shaken but grateful. In an interview with WTAE, Pastor Germany praised McCallister’s bravery, stating, “He could have lost his life in that struggle, but he sacrificed himself for everyone, and he’s the hero.”

McCallister, himself a pillar of the church community, downplayed his role in the events. “There wasn’t a whole lot of thinking going on at that moment,” he told WTAE. “I just reacted. I saw the gun, and I knew I had to do something.”

The attack has also sparked a conversation about security measures in houses of worship. Many churches have traditionally strived to create a welcoming atmosphere, but the events at Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church have forced some to consider the possibility of implementing security protocols.

“The safety of our congregation is our top priority,” Pastor Germany said. “We are currently reviewing our security procedures and will be making any necessary changes to ensure the safety of our parishioners.”

Meanwhile, Bernard Polite awaits his preliminary hearing and the investigation into the two separate shootings continues. The events in North Braddock serve as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of violence, and the importance of courage and community in the face of danger.

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