LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – An Alabama man was arrested after he attempted to pull a gun from his holster during a church service Sunday, according to police.
34-year-old Thomas Zebulun Lewter is being charged with making a terrorist threat as he was speaking at the pulpit during Sunday’s service at O’Neal Church of Christ. People living near the church said they are shocked that this has happened in their community.
Limestone County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Stephen Young told WHNT the Lewter approached the pulpit during the service and began speaking about his pending divorce. Before Lewter could be restrained he made threats to his wife and her father, blaming them for their divorce.
Authorities reported that congregants approached the pulpit and attempted to convince Lewter to sit down, but he refused. After refusing, deputies say Lewter attempted to grab his handgun and congregants tackled and restrained him before any shots could be fired.
A retired deputy who was attending mass Sunday handcuffed Lewter while waiting for police to arrive. A judge has granted Lewter’s wife, Kathryn Lewter a protection order with the affidavit portion explaining the events that occurred.
Lewter was given $50,000 bond and his bond conditions include not going onto church property, not to go near his wife and to surrender his firearms.
The church released the following statement to WHNT:
From the Elders of O’Neal Church of Christ. We had an unfortunate event on July 8 that by the quick actions of members of the congregation we were able to resolve with no physical injuries. We continued our worship and with the grace of God will continue to worship as normal. We ask for your prayers for our congregation and all families involved as we move forward. We thank everyone for the outpouring of love, concern, and prayers. Let us help these families to heal by allowing them their privacy. Thank you in Christian Love, O’Neal Church of Christ