KOUNTZE, Texas — A 19-year-old in Texas has been arrested after remarking online during a live church feed, “Where’s the shooter? I wanna see another shooting again.”
According to reports, as Open House Ministries in Liberty was live-streaming its Sunday service on Facebook on Jan. 5 when Brady Martinez of Kountze left the now-deleted comment.
“We will pray for you, Brady. That’s not something you play with. It’s not a joke,” the church’s media team replied.
The team then reported the comment to the associate pastor, Jerry Scott, who in turn called 911 as he was not sure if the remark posed an imminent or future threat. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Scott then walked to the front of the room as his father was preaching to advise about the comment and that police were on the way to check the premises.
Security kept watch until authorities arrived, and the congregation was moved to the foyer. Several members on the church security team are armed.
After police determined that there was no shooter present, as well as who was responsible for leaving the comment, a warrant was issued for Martinez’ arrest. He was charged with creating false alarm.
A woman who is apparently a family member noted under a Facebook post by Bluebonnet News that Martinez has mental health issues and asked those who were calling him an “idiot” to refrain from engaging in name-calling.
“He isn’t an idiot! He is mentally ill!” she wrote. “Our family apologizes for his actions, but please, don’t call him names. He needs help and we are trying our best to get it for him.”
Scott also wrote under the post, asking those concerned to rather pray for the man than lash out at him.
“We ask for the community to pray for this young man and not show hate. God is a God of love, and we will love this young man as Jesus has loved us. Your prayers will be a more effective than harsh opinions,” he stated.
However, the church also says that it will be fortifying its security in the coming weeks by “implementing some new things … so you can come and worship freely.”
According to reports, Martinez also faces a charge for making a similar remark to Crestwood Baptist Church in Kountze.
The incidents posed particular alarm as a man entered a Texas church on Dec. 29 and shot an usher and a member of the security team during communion. He was quickly taken out by the head of security, who is a firearms instructor and former reserve deputy sheriff.
The sister of the man told reporters in the days following that her brother “was a lost soul that had demons from a childhood,” and that he most likely acted out that day as it was the birthday of another brother who had died from a drug overdose.
“Let us remember … that every part of the world bears testimony to the fact that sin is the universal disease of all mankind,” taught the late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle in his book “Holiness.” “Search the globe from east to west and from pole to pole, search every nation in every climate in the four quarters of the earth, search every rank and class in our own country from the highest to the lowest, and under every circumstance and condition, the report will always be the same.”
“… Everywhere the human heart is naturally ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.’”