Pastor tackles gunman in Nashville church

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Dezire Bangada was filmed by church surveillance. Low-grain quality of gun in raised right hand.

By Israel Matthews —

When a man stood up suddenly during prayer service and waved a handgun at the congregation, Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana sprang into action and tackled him from behind before he could fire off a round.

“He wanted to kill,” Pastor Ezekiel said through an interpreter on WKRN news. “That was the first thing that came to mind.”

Motives remain unclear as yet as to why Dezire Baganda, 26, suddenly jumped up in the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal church and ordered the congregation to stand as he waved a handgun.

Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana acted like he was scared and wanted to slip out the back, then rushed him from behind, clasping his arms so he couldn’t shoot. Other church members disarmed him once he was tackled.

But quick-witted Pastor Ezekiel neutralized him before he could do anyone harm. The immigrant pastor acted as if he were exiting the back door behind the pulpit and behind the gunman and then rushed him and tackled him from his blindspot. Other congregants joined in to help disarm the threatening man at the Nov. 7th service, all recorded on church surveillance video.

“I would say that God used me because I felt like I was going to use the back door as an example as going on by trying to go behind him,” Ndikumana said. “And then I felt the feeling that I would go and grab him, and that’s what happened.”

Baganda had been previously barred from the church for speaking up during sermons and Bible studies, interrupting and arguing. A judge ordered a psychological evaluation of the man, after he had been arrested by Nashville police and presented for his first hearing.

Israel Matthews studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near Culver City, CA

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