Church's Christmas show turns chaotic when erratic man storms in

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Christmas show turns chaotic when erratic man storms in
This is wild! A music stand goes swinging in an effort to stop a man who stormed into a Pasadena church and threatened parishioners.

PASADENA, Texas -- A man from Texas is facing charges after police say he ran inside a church and threatened members with a screwdriver.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church-Pasadena in Pasadena, Texas during its annual Christmas program.

Police say security noticed a man driving erratically in the parking lot when off-duty officers confronted him.

That's when police say the man ran into the sanctuary, armed with a 6-inch screwdriver. They say he tripped over instruments in the orchestra area when officers tried to subdue him. Diana Zuniga was sitting in one of the front rows.

"It was crazy. I was like, 'at church?'" she said. "I thought he had a gun on him and I thought if he had a gun and he starts shooting randomly, then people can get shot."

A churchgoer used a music stand to hit the suspect and help the officers. Cell phone video captured the crazy scene.

WATCH: Churchgoer uses music stand to stop man who stormed in

This scene is chaotic: Watch what happened when a driver being chased by police stormed into a Pasadena church service.

"There was a (scuffle) for several minutes until they were able to get him handcuffed," a witness told ABC13. "The whole incident lasted less than 5 minutes."

Applause filled the room when the man was taken away. Investigators say he "appeared to be under the influence of an unknown narcotic" and went to a hospital for evaluation.

First Baptist - Pasadena sent ABC13 the following statement:

"An unstable man entered our building last night as we were preparing to begin the first night of our annual Christmas presentation. Without provocation, he rushed into the auditorium and began to take threatening actions in the front of the room. He was successfully restrained by our security team and the Pasadena Police Department. Aside from relatively minimal property damage, no one was physically harmed to our knowledge. We are extremely grateful to the Pasadena PD for their immediate response and control, protecting both the man and all in attendance. We have taken extra precautionary measures for the remaining performances and look forward to sharing our program with the community Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!"

The suspect is now facing a charge of aggravated assault on a public servant. His name has not been released.


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