Pastor leads church to safety after 'demon-possessed' gunman threatens killings

A Texan church has escaped unharmed after a crazed gunman entered their building, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Rasheed Abduul Aziz in handcuffs after he was arrested by the policeSmith County Sheriff's Office

Rasheed Abdul Aziz walked into Corinth Missionary Baptist Church announcing he was "a man of Islam" with demons chasing him. God had authorised him to kill any Christian or Jew who opposed Islam, he said. 

"Every hair on my neck just stood up," said Rev John D Johnson III, 45. "It was almost like you could just like feel the presence of just negative energy."

Fortunately for the small congregation in Cherokee County, Johnson is a former parole officer and has training in verbal de-escalation. When Aziz entered the conference room where the pastor was working on Sunday afternoon, his reaction was instinctive.

"Immediately, just like clockwork, it kicked in," he said of his past training.

Johnson got the man to calm down and moved between him and the door to the rest of the church, where some church members were meeting.

"I never gave him the power of feeling that he was in control, that I was frightened," Johnson said. "I just continued to engage, but I was very cautious not to raise my voice or make any quick moves."

As Aziz became more irate, Johnson noticed a gun in his pocket. Making an excuse, he left the room and made the church members leave the church.

"We got a problem. Get everybody out," he told them.

"We can get another church," he said to his wife as he drove away with the members. "We can get more walls, but we cannot get new people."

Aziz was found later by Smith County Patrol deputies, still armed with his pistol. He was charged with felon in possession of firearm and was taken to the Smith County Jail. 

His criminal history indicates he has convictions for marijuana possession and served prison time for aggravated robbery.

The congregation of about 180 were shocked but thankful.

"I just think it's by the grace and mercy of God that we are not on the other side of history, the other side of tragedy," Johnson said.