Gene Duffy, 67, says that he was singing Christian songs with his guitar on an outparcel near the Semmes, Alabama Wal-Mart when he was approached by Sandra Jarman, 53, who was wielding a knife, and Jesse Reid, 26, who was carrying a pistol. The two began to rail on Duffy that they did not like the message he was presenting.
“They hated it. They hated God,” Duffy told Christian News Network. “[They said] that I should be arrested for trying to put that stuff on people.”
Duffy, who has been preaching for 35 years, said that he told Jarman, “I hear what you’re saying, but as a matter of fact, I came from where you are at right now. What has God ever done to do you wrong?”
He stated that when he said those words, Jarman was taken aback for a moment. Reid then put the gun to Duffy’s head, but Duffy said that he did not flinch in response.
“If you could do anything with that weapon, you wouldn’t be punishing me,” he recalled stating to Reid, citing Isaiah 54:17. “The most you could do with that gun would be to make my eternity.”
He explained that Reid then walloped him in the head with the gun.
“I staggered back a little bit from the blow, [but] then they made recognizance with themselves and took off at a moderate pace,” Duffy said.
He states that he went back to singing his song and did not see what happened next.
Kenneth Cushman, 36, who works in the produce section of the Semmes Walmart, reportedly saw the two threatening Duffy with the weapons and walked across the parking lot to confront them. Duffy told Christian News Network that the two know each other and that Cushman is a Christian. Another man, Steven Stuart, also joined Cushman to confront the pair. Cushman and Stuart had been standing inside of New Horizons Credit Union watching the incident.
“[Reid] walked towards us and said, ‘Ya’ll coming over here to save the day?” Cushman remembers. “He come up to us and swung, and Stuart hit him and I let go, and when I did, that’s when the woman came up and I guess that’s when she stabbed me.”
Mobile County Sherriff’s Detective Andrew Peak confirmed the details to reporters.
“[They] came outside and told the two suspects to leave the preacher alone,” Peak said. “The two Good Samaritans were stabbed multiple times.”
Cushman suffered injuries to his spine, kidneys and upper thigh. He was hospitalized, but is expected to be released today. Stuart was treated at an urgent care facility and released shortly thereafter as he suffered less serious wounds from the 5-inch blade.
Cushman says he has no regrets about confronting the two and would do it again.
“Picking on a person like that, preaching the word of God; it’s wrong for people to do that,” he told the Press-Register.
Duffy explained that he did not realize that the two men had intervened or had been stabbed until after the police arrived. He also says that he holds no animosity toward Jarman and Reid.
“I have absolute perfect forgiveness for them whether they ask for it or not,” Duffy stated. “My will for them is to see them come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
Jarman and Reid are being held in the metro jail, and have been charged with assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and carrying a pistol without a permit. A 16-year old was also detained for his involvement in the matter.
Duffy stated that he has since learned that Reid’s pistol was not loaded.