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Nashville pastor tackles armed suspect during church service, police say

Police say a pastor in Nashville, Tennessee tackled an armed man who was threatening churchgoers during a service on Sunday at Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church. No shots were fired, and no injuries occurred during the event. 

The gunman was identified as 26-year-old Dezire Baganda, who was not a member of the church but had attended several services prior to the incident. Baganda is set to appear in court on November 10 to face 15 counts of aggravated assault, but more charges are expected to arise. He is now jailed in Davidson County, and his bond is currently set at $375,000. 

Nzojibugami Noe was sitting in the front row of the sanctuary as the events unfolded. “God was taking care of me and everyone else in the building,” said Noe, who identified the heroic pastor as Ezekiel Ndikumana. The records show that Ndikumana was praying with a few congregants at the altar while the suspect was sitting in a front row off to the right side of him.

Ndikumana then conducted an altar call, and he stepped down from the pulpit where he was preaching. The suspect, as police spokesman Don Aaron noted, stood up and started heading to the pulpit. After he made it on the stage, the suspect took a handgun from his waistband and started waving it at the congregation, which caused “turmoil.”

Then Ndikumana snuck behind the suspect and Aaron described the following scene: “After moving a chair out of his way, he rushed and tackled the suspect, bringing him to the ground.” Others rushed to disarm him, and they held him down until officers arrived at the church.

The arrest affidavit shows that the action of the suspect endangered the lives of the entire congregation and caused them to all fear for their lives. Additionally, the affidavit notes that while he was being taken into custody, Baganda told police he was Jesus and that “all churches and schools need to be shot up.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: TENNESEAN.COM

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