Pastor, deacons robbed at gunpoint after church meeting

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Three armed suspects that robbed and threatened to kill a pastor and two deacons of a Selma church last Thursday could be connected to the armed robbery of a Family Dollar store two days earlier.

The Family Dollar was robbed last Tuesday, and two days later pastor B.T. Booker Jr. and two deacons were robbed at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church on Buckeye Avenue after an annual church board meeting.

Booker said everyone except for himself and two deacons already left the church when the robbery happened after their 6 p.m. meeting.

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“We came out the left side of the church … and by the time we got down to our cars, those bandits had come from the front of the church with masks on,” Booker said. “They came on down before we could know it and before we could get in our cars. They were right on us with assault weapons.”

Booker said the three suspects were very aggressive toward himself and his two fellow church members. He said they were armed with an assault rifle and handguns and had their faces covered with black masks.

“They put one fellow down on the ground with the assault weapon to his head. They cussed him out, took his money,” Booker said. “They took me and put the gun in my back. The other deacon, the chairman of the board, they took his pocketbook and everything.”

But what happened next was what scared Booker the most.

“They lined us up in front of my car right in front of the fellowship hall. They told us to line up that they were going to blow our brains out,” Booker said. “We were pleading for our lives, and the lady next door, she heard us hollering. She called the police. One little fellow said let’s don’t kill them, let’s don’t kill them.”

Booker said after the suspects failed to break into his car, they took off from the scene.

“They took off running with everything we had, but thank God they left us with our lives,” he said. “It was scary. When you’ve got assault weapons and guns in your back, and they’re cussing you out, and then tell you they’re going to blow your brains out, on a scale from one to 10 … it’d be 10.”

Booker said the church had a meeting Tuesday to discuss safety measures that will hopefully stop anything like this from happening in the future. He said he has been getting calls from other churches since the robbery happened showing concern.

“We’ve got all kinds of calls flooding in,” he said. “They are so upset about that.”

Booker said he watched video from the Family Dollar robbery and said the suspects were very similar.

Lt. Tory Neely with the Selma Police Department said the robberies could be related. No arrest has been made in either case yet, but Neely said investigators are following up on leads.

Anyone who has information on the burglary or information on the suspects can call the Selma Police Department at 874-6611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-442-7463. People can also call the secret witness line at 874-2190.