Tenn. Man Arrested After Bringing Assault Rifle, Handgun to Church Easter Service

Footage shows Marcus Donald being escorted away by police from Bellevue Baptist Church property in Memphis, Tenn., on March 27, 2016.
Fox 13 screenshot

A Memphis, Tenn., man was arrested Sunday morning after bringing multiple weapons into Bellevue Baptist Church during the Easter Sunday service, Fox 13 reports

The Memphis Police Department said that 31-year-old Marcus Donald brought "a loaded 40-caliber Beretta in the pocket of his pants and a 300 Blackout assault rifle in a backpack" to the 11 a.m. service. Donald reportedly told police that "people in society are a threat to him and that he must be vigilant." 


Donald was arrested for "emergency commitment," which allows police to take someone who is believed to be mentally ill into custody, and is currently being evaulated. 

The church's director of communication services, Jim Barnwell, said that some 4,500 people were at the church at the time. Barnwell also praised the security team for spotting Donald. 

"We are thankful for the diligence of [our] security and the Memphis Police Department," Barnwell said. 

Raw Story notes that officers acknowledged that Donald might not be cited for the weapons if he has a valid permit. The site also notes that under Tennessee state law, guns are banned on church property only if a church is being used for a school event or if the church posts signs at its entrances expressly stating that weapons are banned. Barnwell said that he did not know whether Bellevue had such a policy.


Read more at Fox 13 and Raw Story

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