Man takes over church pulpit and is tackled by worshippers
ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man who authorities say took over a church pulpit during worship and talked about his pending divorce was tackled by congregation members and arrested after allegedly trying to pull out a gun.
Thomas Zebulun Lewter, 34, of Athens is charged with making a terroristic threat following the incident Sunday at O’Neal Church of Christ.
“During the service, he approached the pulpit and announced that he was sorry he was going to have to do what he had to do,” his wife Kathryn Lewter, who has filed for divorce, wrote in a sworn affidavit. She was in the congregation as her husband spoke, she said.
Some congregation members became uneasy, and many left the sanctuary while he was speaking, Limestone County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Stephen Young told The News Courier .
Other church members approached the pulpit and tried to convince Lewter to sit down and stop talking, Young said, but he refused and tried to grab a handgun he had on him.
“Members of the congregation tackled and restrained him until law enforcement arrived,” Kathryn Lewter wrote in the affidavit. “Before he was restrained, he made threats toward me and my father blaming us for the divorce.”
No shots were fired, and Lewter was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Court records aren’t available to show whether Lewter has a lawyer.