Pastor: Carry guns to church after it nearly became target of racially-motivated shooting

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WFLA/CNN) – A Kentucky church that nearly became the target of a racially-motivated shooting last month is asking several members to bring their guns to services.

The First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown already has already employed a few off-duty police officers. But now the pastor is asking several members with security and law enforcement background to carry their firearms during bible studies and services.

“There are several people that will be positioned for these situations,” Rev. Kevin Nelson told WDRB.

The move comes after a grocery store shooting that happened last month. Police say Gregory Bush visited the historically black church before killing two people at a nearby Kroger. Authorities believe the killings were racially-motivated.

“One of our members saw him here,” Rev. Nelson said. “Had we opened the door, he would have had the advantage and someone would have been killed or injured.”

He says a member of the church recognized Bush after he was arrested. They checked church surveillance cameras and realized it was the same person who came to their church. 

Nelson says the doors were locked when Bush arrived, a move that was made in response to other recent church shootings in the country.

“We’ve always had security, but each time these incidents happened, it just helps us to realize we need to tighten our security,” he said. “Had anyone opened that door, they would have been shot ’cause he had his hand on his gun at that point.”

He hopes that being prepared and having some of his church members armed will help avoid a potential tragedy.

“You can’t always stop everything, but you can always be prepared,” Rev. Nelson said.

Members with concealed-carry permits will also be allowed to carry their guns if they notify church leaders.

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