Tennessee pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana tackles gun waving man

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Tennessee pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana tackles gun waving man

A Tennessee pastor put the fear of God in a man who waved a gun at worshippers — tackling him from behind during a crowded Sunday service, police said.

The brave pastor, Ezekiel Ndikumana, was hailed a hero for springing into action when Dezire Baganda, 26, pulled out a gun and brazenly walked onto the altar at Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church, cops said in a statement.

“Baganda told everyone to get up while he waved and pointed the handgun at the congregation,” Nashville police said. “The pastor quickly tackled Baganda before any shots were fired.”

Several church members then rushed to help the pastor disarm Baganda, who was held on the ground until cops arrived. Although he had previously attended services at the church, Baganda was not a member there. No one was hurt during the frightening incident, police said.

Witnesses told investigators Ndikumana likely stopped Baganda from shooting someone in the congregation, Nashville police spokeswoman Brooke Reese told The Post.

Dezire Baganda.
Dezire Baganda, 26, pulled out a gun and brazenly walked onto the altar at Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church, cops said in a statement.
Metro Nashville Police Department

Baganda “definitely waved and pointed the gun” at several people inside the church, Reese said. Ndikumana can be seen on surveillance footage coming up from behind the suspect and tackling him in front of the pulpit area.

“And that’s when several other church members were able to help him and disarm [Baganda],” Reese said Monday.

Video obtained by WKRN shows Ndikumana by a door as he rushed at Baganda, taking him to the ground before church-goers join in.

Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana
Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana quickly sprung into action and tackled 26-year-old Dezire Baganda to the ground.
CBS

“He wanted to kill, that’s what first came to mind,” Ndikumana told the station through a translator, church choir member Nzojibugami Noe, who was sitting in a front pew at the time.

“He was standing in the front of almost everybody,” Noe said. “No one was behind him yet, so he could have done anything.”

Ndikumana was pretending to exit the church through a rear door when he tackled Baganda before he could react, WKRN reported.

Nashville Mission of Light Pentecostal Church
Ezekiel Ndikumana was pretending to exit the church through a rear door when he tackled Dezire Baganda before he could react, WKRN reported.
CBS

“I would say that God used me because I felt like I was going to use the back door as an example as going on by trying to go behind him,” Ndikumana said. “And then I felt the feeling that I would go and grab him … and that’s what happened.”

Baganda had been previously asked not to come back to the church after interrupting pastors during sermons, but he was never violent, parishioners told WKRN.

Baganda showed up to Sunday’s service at about 10 a.m., nearly three hours before he allegedly pulled out the gun. He then claimed he was Jesus and that all churches and schools needed to be shot up, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the station.

“God wanted to show that he’s a powerful God,” Ndikumana continued. “One main thing I said, we had faith.”

Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana
Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana is being hailed as a hero.
CBS

Baganda was charged Sunday with 15 counts of felony aggravated assault, police said. He will also be charged later Monday with 42 additional counts of the same charge – or one for every person in the church at the time, Reese said.

Baganda remained jailed in Davidson County Monday on $375,000 bond, online records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He’s set to appear before a judge Wednesday, the Tennessean reported.

“God was taking care of me and everyone else in the building,” Noe told the newspaper.

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