Plea made in 2015 church shooting

Published 9:19 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A 28-year-old Selma man who shot and injured his ex-girlfriend, their infant son and an assistant pastor inside an east Selma Church in September 2015 has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison.

According to Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, James Minter pleaded guilty Monday in Dallas County District Court instead of facing trial.

“It was a horrible act of domestic violence, and he committed this act in probably the one place you wouldn’t think he would commit it at, which was a church,” Jackson said.

Minter, who was originally charged and indicted on three counts of attempted murder, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault. Minter was sentenced to 22 years for the attempted murder and 20 years for each assault charge.

Sharnika Brown, Minter’s ex-girlfriend, was shot twice –– once in the jaw and once in the shoulder. Her son, Jamieyon, who was just one-month-old at the time, was shot in the hand and pastor Bob Carswell was shot in the both legs.

The shooting happened at Oasis Tabernacle Church just after Sunday morning service started on Sept. 20, 2015.

Brown, who was sitting on the front row with her son when it happened, said Minter entered the church and sat down on the front row with her. She said he told her, “I got to kill you.”

“He looked at my baby, turned around and looked at me with tears in his eyes. I felt like he was serious, so in the midst of that I threw my hand over the pew and signaled my dad that he’s got a gun,” Brown said two days after the shooting happened. “I sat there, and my dad jumped up and said, ‘We’re in the house of the Lord, and this man’s got a gun.’”

Seconds later, Brown said Minter jumped up and started firing. She tried to get away, but she was struck twice. Carswell, along with other church members wrestled the gun away. Minter escaped the church, but he was caught by the Selma Police Department about a mile away.

Brown said she had been with Minter on and off for around 10 years at the time and said he had a history of domestic violence.

Jackson said Brown along with her son are doing well two years later, but it is still something emotionally she is trying to overcome.

“We’re happy to bring some closure to the family,” Jackson said. “The ex-girlfriend is still trying to recover from this emotionally because that was a very traumatic experience for her to see her and her child and the pastor being shot.”

Jackson said Minter apologized after pleading guilty and being sentenced.

“He apologized in court. It helps a little bit when somebody apologizes, but again, he still had to be punished for this horrific act,” Jackson said. “It was sincere. It was an apology in a sense he knew he was about to go sit in prison for a long time.”