SC church family wonders if they’ll ever be able to worship in peace again after Sunday shooting

Updated: Aug. 26, 2019 at 6:18 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -One Midlands church family is feeling uneasy after an armed robbery and shooting at their place of worship early Sunday morning. The search for the suspect continues after the incident at the Centro Cristiano de Columbia Church on Decker Boulevard.

Forest Acres Police say one person was injured.

WIS-TV spoke to a longtime church member, and the pastor’s daughter, Abigail Alfaro. She says, “We don’t know what that’s going to mean for us – whether or not we can worship without fearing something like this happening again.”

Police say it was about 6:15 a.m. when a lone gunman walked into the church, demanding money. The suspect, armed with a small, silver pistol, fired one shot in the air, and also shot one church member before taking off in a dark colored Toyota Prius.

According to police documents, the car turned onto Decker Boulevard and headed towards Percival Road.

The male victim was taken to a local hospital for surgery. The status of his condition is unknown at this time.

Alfaro, who grew up in the church, says people often gather at the church for prayer before Sunday services. That’s what the early morning group was doing this Sunday when the gunman walked in and turned things upside down.

“It’s just been really weird, because we’ve been having prayer services for a long time, for years maybe, and we knew that there have been some incidents in the community before but it’s never been directed towards the church and so that really threw us off guard because we really would expect to be able to worship,”Alfaro said.

The suspect is being described as a black male with a tall slender build. Police say he was wearing a black striped shirt, black pants and a bandana partially covering his face during the incident.

When asked what she would say to the suspect, the pastor’s daughter said, “I would tell that person, these were really loving people, really sweet and loving people, who, should this individual have met them in any other way, he would’ve probably come to love them and be loved by them.”

If you know anything about this incident, you’re asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS: 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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