Florida pastor interrupts sermon to tackle church burglar

Florida pastor


A Florida pastor is being called a hero after he interrupted his sermon to stop–by way of forceful tackle–a burglar attempting to rob the church.

Florida pastor Les Snodgrass, of Melbourne-based The Door Christian Fellowship Church, was holding forth on a sermon entitled “The Value of Life” when he saw occasional parishoner John Grace stand up and draw a firearm.

Snodgrass said he became alarmed when Grace put the pistol to Snodgrass’ mother’s head.

“I tried to divert his attention away from my mother,” Snodgrass told local media. “I kept calling out to him, ‘Johnny, Johnny, what are you doing?'”

Snodgrass began approaching Grace slowly, keeping his body and his voice passive in order to keep the would-be thief as calm as possible. Then came the moment of truth–the moment in which, Snodgrass says, he had to make a “split-second decision.”

“I just pushed against the wall with all my might,” the Florida pastor said. “I had him by the shoulders, and as soon as I did that, my son leapt from the platform into the air and pounced on him. He punched him twice in the head.”

It was indeed a family affair–in addition to Snodgrass’ son getting involved, his wife kept a taser trained on Grace until the police showed up.

According to the Florida pastor, Grace had attended church services at The Door before, but was not a frequent visitor.

Today, Grace appeared in court, charged with 21 crimes. His judge denied bond on the robbery charges, but assessed a $70,000 bond for the remainder. No court date has yet been set.

As for Snodgrass, he says he and his parishoners forgave their assailant immediately. “We prayed after the whole thing was over,” he said. “I gathered my family at the church, and we all held hands and prayed and forgave him on the spot. Absolutely. But [Grace] will face justice and, he should.”


(Photo credits: Burglar alarm, sermon via Flickr; Florida pastor via The Door CFC of Melbourne)

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