NewsCovering America

Actions

Tennessee pastor tackles gunman who waved a gun at parishioners

Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana
Posted at 7:46 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 13:49:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee pastor is crediting his faith in helping him take down a gunman he says waved a gun at parishioners during Sunday service.

Light Mission Pentecostal Church in Nashville was wrapping up service when a man got up and started waving a gun around.

"I came to a moment where I was confused or didn't understand what just happened," said Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana. "I said to myself, 'We are already dead.'"

Ndikumana says he couldn't believe what was happening.

Video from inside the church showed the moments in real-time.

Video: Suspect pulls gun during North Nashville church service, disarmed by pastor

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department says 26-year-old Dezire Baganda pulled a gun out and walked up to the altar where the pastor was praying with several members.

"He [Baganda] told the people to move or to get up while he was pointing the gun to everyone around here," Ndikumana said.

Ndikumana says he knew he needed to act in order to save lives by jumping on the gunman until police arrived.

"In this situation, by grabbing him, it was either die or grab him to where he doesn't hurt anybody," he said.

Church leaders say the gunman stayed for the entire service. It was toward the end when they say he got up and waved his gun.

The pastor says he thanks God no one was hurt.

"I'm grateful, very grateful to God how he used us to where no one got hurt, and he was able to protect us through that way," Ndikumana said.

Church leaders said this isn't the first time the 26-year-old suspect visited the church. They say the last time was in February, when he tried to preach.

Baganda is facing 57 counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He is being held at the Davidson County Detention Center on a $375,000 bond. He is due in court to answer to the charges on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

This story was originally published by Kelsey Gibbs at WTVF.