JEFFERSONTOWN, KY (WDRB/CNN) - A Kentucky church that nearly became the target of a racially motivated attack last month has asked members with security and law enforcement backgrounds to carry firearms during bible studies and services.
The historic First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown already employs a few off-duty police officers but felt the need to have more armed people after a recent close call with double murder suspect Gregory Bush.
"The assumption was, whoever opened the door would have been shot," said the Rev. Kevin Nelson, senior pastor.
Bush is accused of killing two people last month at the local Kroger.
After the arrest, Nelson said a member recognized Bush and church surveillance cameras were checked.
"That's when we discovered it was the same person," Nelson said.
The doors of the church were locked because of recent church shootings in other parts of 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," Nelson said.
This time, church leaders hope to add an extra layer of security they haven't had in the past - certain members armed at worship services.
Perry Waiters is a part-time editor at WDRB and longtime member of First Baptist Church. He supports the decision add some firepower to the historically black church.
"It was not a good feeling at all," he said.
Bush is accused of killing two people, and witnesses, police and lawmakers believe it was racially motivated.
Nelson said being prepared helped the church avoid a potential tragedy. He has designated a few off duty and retired police officers to bring weapons to worship services.
Members with concealed-carry permits will also be allowed to carry their guns if they notify church leaders.
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