PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Incident to consider; 10-year-old shooting at occupied church

In the southwest corner of Pennsylvania is Uniontown; a small town of just under 10,000 people.

Uniontown was established on July 4th, 1776; unrelated to the Declaration of Independence being ratified the same day 280 miles away. It is better known as the birthplace of the McDonalds Big Mac sandwich.

In the northeast part of town, homes are as run-down as the roadways. Curbs dissolve under crabgrass. Old narrow cracked asphalt streets blend into mostly unkept yards. Wherever city revenues are spent, it’s not on infrastructure.

There on Millview Street, in the midst of 2 story square frame homes, each nearly filling their little lots, sits the Solid Rock Ministry Church. It is a 60’ x 70’ cinderblock single-story building with 23 parking spots.

On Thursday evening (11/5/20) gunfire erupted in the parking lot, with bullets coming into the church where the congregation was gathered.

The aggressor was a 10-year-old grandson of one of the congregants. He’d allegedly broke open a locked box inside the church and took the gun from it. When his Grandma went outside to stop him, she was shot twice and had to be airlifted to a hospital. She is expected to live.

Whether he intended to shoot her or not, he was intentionally and recklessly firing a gun he had malevolently taken. He will likely be charged.


Think About it

How might you handle such a situation if you were an on-site defender?

In such a congested residential setting, neighbors and congregants are in danger. The shooting must stop, but how are you going to stop it?

Do you know how many shots have been fired? How good are you at weapon identification in the hands of an active aggressor? Even if you have an accurate count and know specifically what the gun is; does that make any difference? How do you know he doesn’t have another gun? Is there an accomplice?

Is your first (only) plan to shoot the kid? Would it matter if he was 6, 12, 16 or 20?

Would you have noticed and prevented the juvenile mischievousness before it got this far? Would you have intervened even before that by prohibiting the negligent gun presence by somebody? Even if it was the pastor? A responsible defender’s gun should never leave their person.

These are all good reasons for intentional operations.

Build a drill around this scenario and see how your team might handle it.


Comments (1)

In this case I believe the congregation and the security team (if there was one) were familiar with the child. Other sources stated that he was severely autistic and had a lot of problems. Somehow he wandered into the living area of the building and found the locked box where the weapon was stored. An additional source that I could not confirm also stated that he had attempted to burn down a church in the past. The problem as I see it was whether he should have been allowed to attend. As much as we want to welcome everyone there is a point where we have to consider the potential of harm to the congregation over an individual.

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