Larry Wright was giving a sermon to a congregation of worshippers about violence when a man walked into his church with a semi-automatic rifle.
A pastor has told of the moment a man brandishing a machine gun walked into the church while he was giving a sermon on senseless violence. Larry Wright, a pastor from North Carolina, says he managed to disarm the man and pray with him before police arrived on the scene in Fayetteville.
Fayetteville Police said the man was committed to a medical centre at his request. According to local media, the man told the congregation the Lord had told him to go to church before he did something bad.
Wright, a 57-year-old retired soldier, said the man walked towards the front of the church carrying the semi-automatic rifle and an ammunition clip shortly before midnight.
The pastor said he stepped down quickly from the pulpit when he saw the stranger, who appeared to be in his late 20s. The minister said that if the man had shown signs of aggression he would have attempted to overpower him but explained that he was able to take the weapon from the man calmly.
He then asked four deacons to hug the man, who fell to his knees and began crying. Remarkably, Wright then continued the service, inviting the man to sit in the front pew.
He told the Fayetteville Observer the man asked for salvation and "gave his life to Christ". One of the church deacons, Sylvester Loving, told the newspaper: "I think that night the spirit of God was definitely in the place."
Tensions have been high amongst churchgoers in the American South since Dylann Roof (pictured above) walked into a service in South Carolina in June and massacred nine black worshippers. A Mirror UK report