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Jesse Gates With Shotgun Disrupts Church Service, Disarmed By Congregation

Posted: 03/25/2012 9:54 pm Updated: 03/26/2012 9:30 pm

Jesse Gates

BOILING SPRINGS, S.C (AP) -- A shotgun-toting man kicked in a church door during Sunday services before being disarmed by congregants who saw the armed man coming through the church windows, locked the doors, and sprang on him after he burst inside, sheriff's deputies said.

No one was hurt at the Southside Freewill Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, a community in Spartanburg County.

Deputies charged Jesse Gates, 38, with burglary, disturbing a place of worship, and attempted kidnapping. The kidnapping charge was lodged because Gates allegedly pointed his weapon at the church pastor, resulting in his being restrained, Spartanburg County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Tony Ivey said.

Congregants spotted Gates approaching across a parking lot and locked the doors, Ivey said. When Gates kicked in a side door, a half-dozen members hiding in the wings jumped him, Ivey said.

Gates told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs to a patrol car taking him to jail that his children had been taken away and he was trying to get someone to listen to him. Gates said he asked the church for help, but was frustrated.

"I've been praying, begging," Gates said. "They won't let me see my children. I tried everything. What can you do?"

Gates' sister, Amanda Gates, 34, was charged with providing her brother with the shotgun and driving him to the church.

Gloria Gates said her son Jesse had been attending the church for a short time. Gloria Gates said she spoke to her daughter Amanda, who told her she didn't know what Jesse planned.

Spartanburg County Sheriff's deputies said no one was hurt Sunday at the Southside Freewill Baptist Church in Boiling Springs.

Deputies charged Gates with burglary, disturbing a place of worship, and attempted kidnapping. The kidnapping charge was lodged because he allegedly pointed his gun at the pastor.

Officers charged 34-year-old Amanda Gates with providing her brother with the shotgun and driving him to church.

Gates told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs that his children had been taken away and he was trying to get someone to listen to him.

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Filed by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush  |