Being a victim of armed robbery is always a terrible and often traumatic thing to experience, and there are certain places where no one would ever expect it to happen.
But apparently, you can get it even when you’re at church—and even if you’re preaching from the pulpit.
According to NBC News, Bishop Lamor Whitehead of the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn was robbed by three gunmen while he was delivering a sermon to the congregation.
Listen; with all the mass shootings that have taken place recently—including one at a Nigerian church that killed at least 50 people—one can imagine how terrified people inside the church were at the very sight of anyone walking in brandishing a firearm. It’s weird to say, “fortunately, this was just a robbery,” but that’s apparently where we are.
“When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out,” Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram following the incident. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery.”
Still, Whitehead said the men “took all of my wife’s jewelry and took all of my jewelry,” including his wedding band.
In fact, police said the assailants—who haven’t been caught yet by the way—stole around $400,000 worth of jewelry before fleeing on foot and into a white Mercedes Benz. Whitehead said in his Instagram video that they “were all Black men and they had masks, but I could see they face.”
“These young men didn’t know that cameras were on and we know what car you was driving—they was driving in a white Mercedes CLA Benz—we know what car you was driving,” Whitehead said.
“And we also know that you switched your clothes in the car, because I ran after them. When they turned the guns and went down, I ran after them. When I seen them across the street going to get in their car, I dodn’t have my car keys so I told them to get my car keys and I went after them.”
Sir, I know you’ve been through a lot, but I got to ask—what were you going to do if you caught up with three armed men who are so desperate that they ran up in the church and robbed you in the middle of your sermon?
Anyway, according to NBC, church parishioners are traumatized and the clergyman hopes that the men will turn themselves in.
“The women and children that was in my church, my daughter, she’s traumatized right now. She’s not even talking,” he said.
The bishop also pushed back against comments and headlines that described him as “flashy” with his jewelry in his livestreamed services.
“It’s not about me being flashy. It’s about me purchasing what I want to purchase,” he said. “If I worked hard for it, I can purchase what I want to purchase.”
Fortunately, the police didn’t report any injuries during the robbery. They said the investigation into the incident is still ongoing and Whitehead is now offering a $50K reward for information.
Be careful out there, folks. It seems you can’t assume you’re in a safe place, wherever you are. SMH.