|Aerial view of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. (City of Colorado Springs )|
The Rev. Brady Boyd believes there is no safer place to be Sunday morning than inside his church.
When Boyd takes to the pulpit at New Life Church, in Colorado Springs, Colo., he and the faithful are well protected. The 30-acre grounds are patrolled by uniformed police officers and an armed safety team made up of about 20 people, including Special Forces soldiers from one of four nearby military bases. One of Boyd's personal secuirty guards is a 24-year veteran Green Beret.
“It’s not like Soviet Russia,” he said. “But you plan for the worst, and pray for the best.”
New Life is one of a growing number of churches around the country that embrace armed security to protect the flock as they worship. A disturbing increase in shootings inside churches, including the shooting last Sunday of a pastor in Dayton, Ohio, and the tragic killing of nine last year at a South Carolina church has prompted extreme measures." ... you plan for the worst, and pray for the best.”
- The Rev. Brady Boyd
New Life was one of the first in the nation to embrace armed security, and it has already proven provident.
Boyd was in his office at the church following Sunday services Dec. 9, 2007, when a gunman killed two people outside and then entered the building armed with an assault rifle, two handguns and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
The 24-year-old killer, Matthew Murray, was about 80 feet inside the building when his rampage was brought to an end by Jeanne Assam, an armed volunteer security guard.
“I saw him coming through the doors, and I took cover, and I waited for him to get closer,” Assam said afterward. “I came out of cover, I identified myself and engaged him and took him down.”
No one can say how many lives Assam saved, but there were several thousand people on the church's campus after Sunday's services. But Boyd estimated that over a hundred lives were saved.
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