‘People united to pray, pray for my life’: Man speaks after being shot in armed robbery at Forest Acres church

Updated: Sep. 27, 2019 at 11:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For the first time, we are hearing from the victim in a shooting at a church in Forest Acres.

It has been one month since an armed robbery and shooting at Centro Cristiano De Columbia. Forest Acres Police continue to search for the suspect.

WIS spoke with Esvin Perez, the 23-year-old shot by the alleged robber. Perez said he does not have many memories of what happened after he was shot, but he was able to talk about the moments before the shooting during their Sunday morning worship service.

"I entered the church and I knelt down at a chair. The man entered to shoot me. Well, he shot twice, he shot to the sky," Perez said. "At the third time, that was when I got up, lifted up my head and was looking, he entered with the pistol in his hand and I saw him, he lifted up the pistol and he hit me in my side."

Perez said he believed he was going to die, but was at peace due to his faith in God.

From that moment, Perez was then in the hospital. Perez was shot just below his ribs. He went through two surgeries and says for safety reasons doctors could not remove the bullet.

During that time, community members got together and held a joint prayer service for him at Rosewood Church.

"Thank God many people united to pray. Many churches from different places, people I don't know and the truth is I feel happy, I feel joyful because many people united to pray, pray for my life," Perez said.

It has been a week since Perez got out of the hospital. He is taking his recovery day by day. His pastor, Henry Alfaro, wants the community to understand that for them, help is still needed.

“We are all not calm knowing that this person is still out there and could cause harm tomorrow to us, or someone else, and so we need your help. Please speak to the police if you see this suspicious person around," Alfaro said.

On Sunday, Perez will try and attend church again, that is a moment he is preparing for, as he still worries about the man accused of shooting him.

If you know anything about the man accused of shooting Perez, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888 CRIME SC.

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