Man Brandishes Gun During Church Service, Tennessee Pastor Stops Him

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Church services took a terrifying turn in Tennessee when a man decided to brandish a gun in front of a frightened congregation. Thankfully, the quick-thinking pastor leaped into action — and surveillance camera video captured the harrowing ordeal.

Dezire Baganda (Photo Credit: Metro Nashville Police Department)

Ezekiel Ndikumana, the pastor of the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church in North Nashville, was praying with several members during a Sunday church service when things took a terrifying turn for the congregation. A 26-year-old man, later identified as Dezire Baganda, was sitting at the front of the Sunday service when he suddenly brandished a firearm.

After pulling out the gun, Baganda walked up to the altar, where the pastor was praying with several members, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. Baganda waved the gun around, told everyone to get up, and “pointed the handgun at the congregations,” police said. But, we don’t have to take their word for it since the frightening encounter was captured on video.

Ezekiel Ndikumana
Dezire Baganda pulled a gun during a Sunday church service. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

As seen in the harrowing footage captured by a church surveillance camera, Dezire Baganda waves the gun in his hand as he faces the worshippers after taking over the pulpit. Thankfully, the pastor wasn’t about to stand by as his members were threatened. Instead, Pastor Ndikumana said he felt God was using him as he leaped into action, and it was all caught on video.

As an unsuspecting Baganda stood before the church congregation, waving and pointing a firearm at frightened attendees, Pastor Ndikumana saw an opportunity and seized it. After walking behind Baganda and pretending to exit the church, the quick-thinking pastor snuck up on the suspect and tackled him from behind:

As the quick-thinking pastor sprang into action and tackled Dezire Baganda to the ground, some shocked and terrified church attendees ran out of the church, but a few parishioners helped to disarm the suspect before any shots were fired. After wrestling the gun away from Baganda, the pastor and parishioners managed to pin him to the ground and hold him until police arrived at the scene.

Although Dezire Baganda was not a member of the church, the pastor said he had attended services before, NBC News reported. He was reportedly asked not to attend services previously after interrupting pastors during their sermons, but church members said he was never violent. On the fateful Sunday in question, he showed up for the 10 a.m. service and remained calm until the outburst around 12:45 p.m.

Ezekiel Ndikumana
Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana tackles Dezire Baganda after he pulled a gun during a Sunday church service. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

While speaking with reporters, as choir member Nzojibugami Noe translated for him, Ndikumana admitted that he feared for his congregation. “He wanted to kill, that’s what first came to my mind,” the pastor recalled. Thankfully, that didn’t come to pass. Instead, Baganda was arrested and charged with 15 counts of felony aggravated assault.

Authorities have since praised the pastor’s actions, describing his efforts as “heroic” and saying he saved the church from further violence, but the pastor, using a translator, maintains that God used him. “I would say that God used me,” Ndikumana said, explaining that he first contemplated using the back door but then “felt the feeling that I would go and grab him,” so that’s what he did.

Even when his congregation credited Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana with saving their lives, he insisted their lives were in God’s hands the whole time, ABC 6 WATE reported. “God wanted to show that He’s a powerful God,” Ndikumana explained. “One main thing I said, we had faith,” the humble pastor added.

Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana’s bravery reminds us that we are often able to become the answer to someone else’s prayers. As his congregation likely prayed to God to keep them safe in that terrifying moment, the pastor felt a calling to take action. He listened, and lives were saved. If that’s not a happy ending and an answer to prayer, I certainly don’t know what is.