Glenn Germany / Facebook

A Sunday morning sermon took a dramatic turn when an armed gunman came up to the pulpit, aimed a gun, and fired at the pastor. Twenty-six-year-old Bernard Polite of Braddock, Pennsylvania entered Jesus’ Dwelling Place church in Braddock around 1 pm and can be seen during the church’s livestream approaching Pastor Glenn Germany as he is in the middle of delivering his Sunday sermon. Just feet away from the pastor, Polite aims a gun at Germany, who attempts to hide behind a podium as Polite appears to pull the trigger. Miraculously, the gun jammed, saving Germany’s life. Polite then attempts to climb over the altar in an apparent attempt to shoot again when Deacon Clarence McCallister jumps into action, tackling Polite and holding him down. Germany emerges from hiding and assists McCallister in disarming Polite. McCallister then held onto Polite until police arrived.

Speaking to news affiliates, Germany praised God for saving his life. “I was like, this is not happening. I thank God because only God stopped and jammed this gun,” he said. He also praised McCallister’s bravery. “He’s a hero,” he said. For his part, McCallister remained humble. “There’s something that needs to be done and I jumped up and handled my business,” he said. Germany had never seen Polite before but was able to talk with him afterwards. “He said, ‘Look, spirits was in my mind. They got in my mind and they told me come in and shoot the pastor.’ He actually apologized to me. I told him that I forgive you and want you to know that I love you,” Germany recalled. The hardest thing for Germany was realizing that his 14-year-old daughter was in the audience, watching the scene unfold. “I still had to be strong, because I had to be strong for her, but I couldn’t take it, and just seeing her, that’s the part that’s hard for me to digest,” he said.

Polite has been charged with criminal attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. He was denied bail and is being held at Allegheny County Jail. At 8:15pm on Sunday, police responded to a call and arrived at Polite’s house, where they found his relative, Derek Polite, dead from a gunshot wound. Neighbors described the pair as quiet and nice and were surprised to hear of Bernard’s attempt on the pastor’s life. He was described as having a history of mental illness but there are no reports of violence. Police have not yet charged Bernard in the death of his family member, but an investigation is currently ongoing.

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