Man arrested after trying to shoot pastor during sermon in North Braddock, state police say

NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. — A man is facing charges after Pennsylvania State Police say he tried to shoot a pastor who was giving a sermon at a church in North Braddock.

Video taken at the church shows Pastor Glenn Germany preaching at the Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church on Lobinger Avenue at 1:09 p.m. on Sunday.

A man then walks up and points a handgun directly at him. Police say the man tried to fire the gun but it did not go off.

“He pulled the gun; it clicked,” Germany said. “You heard him shoot it. God jammed the gun so the bullet didn’t come out.”

Pennsylvania State Police say the gunman was Bernard Junior Polite, 26, from Braddock.

The small congregation had about 25 parishioners, including Germany’s daughter, when police say Polite walked from the back of the church to the front pew.

“He stood up and he smiled at me. And it was just a smile,” Germany said. “He comes to right here and then all of a sudden, that’s when I see him pull the gun and all I could do is duck and try to get out of the way.”

The pastor quickly dove behind the pulpit and the gunman walked after him.

That’s when Deacon Clarence McCallister, 63, quickly took Polite, who was still holding the gun, to the ground. McCallister was behind the camera taping the service a few feet away.

“Once I seen a gun, then I leaped out of my seat and leaped over that railing, and I tackled him down to the ground,” McCallister said. “The man had his back turned towards me and I could see he would never see me coming.”

Both Germany and McCallister wrestled the gun from the man’s hands and held him down until police came. Troopers took Polite into custody.

Polite reportedly told the pastor voices in his head told him to shoot him.

“He said, ‘The spirits were in my mind,’” Germany said. “‘They got in my mind and told me to shoot the pastor.’”

Germany said the deacon is his hero but McCallister said God was watching over him.

“God had his hands on the pastor,” said McCallister. “He wasn’t letting him go nowhere.”

Despite nearly losing his life, Germany said he doesn’t hold anything against Polite. He also doesn’t want to place armed security outside. Germany says those doors will remain open.

“He actually apologized to me,” he said. “I told him that ‘I forgive you and want you to know I love you,’ but yes, I definitely forgave him.”

Polite is facing attempted homicide charges.

County Police confirmed to Channel 11 that Polite lived with his family less than half a mile away from the church on Stokes Avenue. Detectives were called to the home at 8:15 p.m. for the shooting death of a man.

Derek Polite, who is Bernard’s cousin, was shot to death. It’s not clear if Bernard Polite will be accused in the shooting.

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