Former pastor kills himself in front of officers serving arrest warrant
A former North Carolina pastor committed suicide on Saturday after police served him with an arrest warrant.
Michael Reece Mullis was accused of sex crimes against a minor, and shot himself in the head after hearing the charges against him.
The warrant was issued by police in Concord, where the crimes allegedly occurred.
Concord Police said that between 2000 and 2004, Mullis forced a 15-year-old girl to perform a sex act on at least two occasions. The alleged victim is now in her 20s.
The crimes allegedly occurred while Mullis was pastor of Near Calvary Baptist Church in Concord, and the police investigated for two years before attempting to make an arrest.
"We had enough probable cause and once we developed all of that we went over the case and took out the charges for indecent liberties," Concord Police Major Gary Hatley told WBTV.
The warrant was executed by Rowan County Deputy Sheriffs at Mullis' home on James Drive in Rockwell.
The deputies said that the 63-year-old answered the door in his pajamas, and after hearing the charges, asked to get his shoes.
One officer remained with Mullis' wife, while another went with him to the master bedroom. Once inside the bedroom, Mullis ran towards the master bathroom and tried to close the door. An officer was able to force his way inside, and found the former pastor holding a .357 Magnum. The deputy watched as Mullis shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Victims advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released a statement on Tuesday expressing their condolences for the Mullis family and for the alleged victim.
"We feel for the family of Michael Mullis of Near Calvary Baptist Church in Concord," they said. "But even more, we feel for the brave victim who reported to police that Mullis abused him or her. We also feel for anyone else who may have been molested by this minister."
"Violence is never the answer. At the same time, however, we are relieved that Mullis can no longer hurt children. "
Mullis resigned from Near Calvary, which now operates under a different name, in 2011 after 20 years in the ministry.