HPD hosts church safety workshop

HOUSTON – The Houston police Department are investigating after Keanu Randolph, 20, allegedly used a pistol to threaten church personnel preparing for worship Sunday.

According to police the incident occurred at the Greater Sunrise Missionary Baptist Church in Fifth Ward.

“He went out on the outside opened his bag up and pulled out a gun. All we did around here was try to help him. Try to help him get saved and everything but apparently he didn’t want it,” Pastor John W Horton recalls.

Randolph has been charged with retaliation and evading arrest.

On the heels of it at their doorstep, the Houston Police Department and the Houston Area Pastors Council held a church security workshop to offer pastors tips on keeping their congregation safe.

“Basic church safety is having a church plan. In this day and age you have to be alert at all times,” said Officer Barry Curtis with the Houston Police Department.

Like similar advice during other active shooter incidents, police send the message to run if you can, hide if you can’t run and fight only if you must.

“One of the best things they can do quite frankly is to have two able body people on each side of the aisle on the very back pew of the sanctuary if somebody comes in that’s obviously hostile with a weapon, their first job is to tackle that person and get them on the ground,” Officer Stephen Daniel with the Houston Police Department said. “I have real concern about engaging the bad guy with weapons, I’m just afraid that you’re going to end up with more casualties by accident trying to shoot it out with a bad guy.”

“I have people tell me all the time, ‘we’re not going to do anything in terms of security we’re going to trust god.’ Well why not believe his word. And his word tells you ‘foresee danger,’” Jimmy Meeks with Sheepdog Seminars said.

For pastors, seminars like this are helpful.

“With the information and the call for preparation i think it’s going to dispel most of the fear that we have,” said Christopher Mitchell, Lead Pastor for Greater Houston Church of Christ.

As for Pastor Horton, changes are coming to Greater Sunrise.

“I’m going to change, but right now I don’t know what changes I’m going to make but I will do something to get more better protection for this church because this is happening everywhere now,” Horton said.