Local pastor encourages all churches to step up security after Texas mass shooting

Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - A place of worship is somewhere you'd never expect to see violence, but churches are now becoming targets.

"You think you are safe in the House of the Lord, but the Devil never rests," Gloria Rodriguez Ximenez, who knew victims of the Texas church shooting, said.

The unthinkable happening in a small Texas town with less than 1,000 residents.

The tragic situation making leaders at places like Faith Baptist Church of Altoona feel you can never be too prepared.

"As leaders we want to make sure that when people come into our church that they are properly provided for, cared for, and they can feel safe no matter what the case might be," Gary Dull, the Pastor at Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, told us.

Pastor Dull said it's his job to make sure his congregation is safe. That's why he has an armed security team in case of an emergency. He encourages all churches, big or small, to do the same.

"We need to remind pastors and church leaders that it makes no difference where you are, it makes no difference what size of a church you have, it's important to make certain you're prepared for anything that may come up," Dull explained.

Experts told us if security isn't in place during a life or death situation, quick thinking may be the most effective weapon to save you.

"In your mind create a mind map," Rick Capozzi, founder & president of the Capozzi Group and Survival Mindset, said. "Ask what would I do? Where would I go? What are my exit options? Where is there a fire extinguisher that perhaps I could use as a defensive weapon if I would need to do that? If I'm going to hide out, where would be a good hide out location? So there's a lot of things like that if people would just put it in their mind ahead of time it makes it a whole lot easier. You don't get smarter in stressful situations."

Advice too late for a community now trying to overcome a great tragedy.

"We were very close family," Sherry Pomeroy, whose daughter was killed in the church shooting, said. "We ate together, laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together. Now most of our church family is gone."

If you find yourself in an active shooter situation here's a plan Capozzi said you can follow:

1) Distance yourself from the shooter as much as possible
2) Find a place to hide
3) Prepare yourself for the possibility of coming face-to-face with the gunman


Don't Miss

  • Groundhog Day 2018
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Hidden History 2018
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • The Big Game 2018
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • National Catholic Schools Week 2018

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center