10 December 2007

Church Shooting Hero



Guard's hands "didn't even shake" as she shot gunman

COLORADO SPRINGS — Amid deafening cracks of gunfire, smoke-spewing canisters and the flight of thousands of New Life Church members, Jeanne Assam said she suddenly saw the hallways clear and a gunman come through the door.

"I took cover. I identified myself. I engaged him. I took him down," the 42-year-old former law officer and volunteer church security guard said Monday at a news conference in the Colorado Springs police station.

"I just said, 'Holy Spirit, be with me.' I wasn't even shaking," Assam said. "I give the credit to God. I say this very humbly. God was with me."

Assam, a member of New Life for only a few months, admitted she had been without sleep since Sunday's midday shootings at Colorado's largest church.

The episode left two injured and ended the lives of two teen sisters and the gunman, 24-year-old Matthew Murray.

Police declined to confirm Monday whether Assam's weapon, which she reportedly emptied in the exchange, inflicted Murray's fatal wound or whether it was self-inflicted.

Police also wouldn't describe how close Assam had been to Murray or exactly where they were in New Life's long hallway.

The church's senior pastor, Brady Boyd, said Assam was a real hero to him and to the whole church. He said she acted as his personal bodyguard.

"We will be holding a funeral for two very precious young women who were shot and killed on our campus," Brady said. "Three people are needlessly dead, but many more lives could have been lost."

Church spokesman Rob Brendle called Assam's clear-eyed, swift action the "good news" of that horrible day.

"It was scary," Assam said at the news conference. "I tell you it was scary. It was loud. I'll never forget. The gunshots were so loud."

Assam said she had drawn her weapon countless times in her prior law enforcement career, but she had never shot anyone until Sunday.

"I was very focused. I knew what I had to do," she said. "It was it just seemed like me, the gunman and God."

Assam, single and without children, has been working three months for an educational ministry called Messengers International, run by John and Lisa Bevere in Colorado Springs.

Assam said she had just ended a three-day fast Sunday. During the fasting she prayed and asked God to help her decide what to do with her future and whether she should work again in law enforcement.

"I was weak," she said. "God made me strong. What was going through my mind is how awesome God is."

She said she loves law enforcement, but she still doesn't have her answer about her future.

"I'm going to continue to pray about it," Assam said.

Sgt. Jess Garcia III, the public-information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said Assam left his police department in the late 1990s.

He said during her time there she worked in North Minneapolis, the busiest crime area of the city, as well as in downtown Minneapolis.

"Some of the training she received here apparently helped her," Garcia said. "She did a great job."

He said he knew her during her time in Minneapolis.

"I thought she had a great personality and always got along with everybody," Garcia said.


Robocop's Comment:

Jeanne Assam, God was truly with you that day. For protecting the people of your Church with total disregard for your own safety, I call you hero.

UPDATE: The gunman shot himself in the head after she took him down with her weapon. Either way, she still saved lives by being there to stop the bastard.

2 comments:

Sandy said...

I totally agree with you. How sad, though, that armed guards are necessary at a church!

Prayers for all and thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention.

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