- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2015

Police in Richmond, Virginia, took a white man into custody Thursday night after witnesses say he was threatening black church members and shouting racial slurs, just one day after a horrific church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, claimed nine lives.

Richmond Police Capt. Chris Gleason said the man, who was not identified, was beating on a door at United Nations Church International on Thursday night with a long piece of plastic, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported.

A police officer who was working security at the church pointed a gun at the man, thinking he had a knife, Capt. Gleason said.

The man was taken into custody after backup officers arrived to assist. He was taken under an emergency commitment order for 72-hour observation after police determined he had not violated the law, the Times Dispatch reported.

It is unclear at this time whether the suspect will face charges.

“I never thought I’d see the day when police have to be at church,” said Capt. Gleason.

The incident started about 8:45 p.m. when children inside the black church saw a white man banging on the door, using a racial slur and saying, “You’re taking over,” Lydia Jones, a church member, told the Times Dispatch.

“Immediately after leaving Bible study, a man walked up to the church, banging on the door and yelling obscenities, racial slurs and threatening to kill the people inside,” Bishop Orrin Pullings told a local ABC affiliate.

Ms. Jones said congregants initially thought the object the man was holding was a machete.

“It was very alarming,” she said.

The incident came one day after a gunman killed nine black congregants at a historic church in downtown Charleston.

Dylann Roof, 21, confessed to police to the killings on Friday and admitted to trying to start a race war. Witnesses said Mr. Roof told victims “you’re raping our women” and “taking over our country” before shooting them.

He was charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, Charleston police said.

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