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Church Pastor Shot, Killed During Sunday Service; Church Security Expert Available for Comment/Interviews

Church Security Expert Available for Comment/Interviews

Contact: Ty Mays, 770-256-8710, tmays@inchristcommunications.com
MARYVILLE, Ill., Mar. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- The pastor of a Maryville, Illinois, church was shot to death during a service today in front of horrified parishioners, who then tackled the gunman, according to news reports.  The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville was shot and killed during the 8 a.m. service, and the attacker and two parishioners suffered knife wounds in the attack.  The gunman walked in during the service, walked up to the pulpit and opened fire.  The pastor was shot three times.  The gunman then pulled out a knife and wounded himself.  Two worshipers who were attempting to detain him were also injured by the knife.

The following statement was issued today by Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network (www.christiansecuritynetwork.org), a national organization that provides security planning, training and emergency preparedness and response resources for Christian churches, ministries, schools and missionaries:

"The shooting this morning is a tragic situation, but unfortunately, one that has been witnessed many times over the years. This most recent violent incident against a Christian church in a small town in downstate Illinois is another reminder that these incidents are not going to stop and can occur anywhere, at any time. The only recourse that churches have to is to acknowledge that it can happen to them and to be prepared.

"In the first two months alone, the Christian Security Network has tracked 139 incidents in 31 states against Christian churches, schools and ministries."

Formerly chief security officer for a large international Christian ministry, Hawkins is a senior public safety and security professional with more than 27 years experience working for profit, not-for-profit and government organizations locally, nationally and around the world.

Hawkins is a Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM) and a Certified Institutional Protection Instructor (CIPI). He currently serves on the U.S. State Department Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS International) Leadership, the world’s largest organization of security professionals. 

A Chicago native and a graduate of the Chicago Police Academy, Elmhurst College (B.A - Business Administration), National-Louis University (M.S – Management), Hawkins has more than 1,000 hours of post-graduate training in security, law enforcement and emergency management with such specialty agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and counter terrorism agencies in Israel.

Hawkins has worked with White House Advance Teams under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, conducted investigations with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and coordinated protection details for politicians and foreign dignitaries with the Diplomat Security Service (DSS), the U.S. Secret Service and foreign security agencies.

To arrange an interview with Mr. Hawkins, contact Ty Mays @ (770) 256-8710 or tmays@inchristcommunications.com.