They're used to leaning on the Lord for protection, but Promise Land Church had police instead during Sunday service.
Gunfire broke the silence Saturday afternoon in Frayser during the funeral for a man who was gunned down Christmas Eve morning at the now closed Beale Street nightspot Club Crave. Memphis police rushed to Promise Land Church after shots were fired outside the funeral for 24-year-old victim Randy Williams, a church spokesperson said.
The following day, the congregation was sure to count their blessings.
"Even though there was a brief security occurrence on the campus of Promise Land Church and we were told that shots were fired, let me give you this: Out of 200 and some odd people being outdoors, no one was shot," said Pastor Elliot Shelton.
Williams and two others were shot early Dec. 24, 2012, at Club Crave.
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No one was injured outside Promise Land Church, but a 17-year-old boy was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon, police said. It is unclear if the teen fired the gun outside the church because the bullet casings found by police did not match up that were found outside the church.
Shelton said there were 700 people on the church campus when the shots rang out, but there's another number he highlighted during Sunday's sermon with the press: 65 young African American men turned over a new leaf during the Saturday service.
"We hear about our young men being shot up. We hear about the crimes that they commit, but when was the last time you heard that 65 African Americans gave their life to Jesus Christ?" said Shelton.
It is also unclear how many people were firing outside the church during Mr. Williams' funeral but several people were reported firing guns.
A second person, a 23-year-old Terrell Miller, was detained by police after he reportedly kicked the teen cited on Saturday. Miller was issued a misdemeanor citation for assault.
Club Crave was padlocked Dec. 27, 2012, three days after the Christmas Eve violence, the latest in a long string of crime involving the club. City, county and property owners are in Environmental Court debating whether the club should be razed.