Culture

Virginia Pastor Stabbed During Bible Study at Church Led by Redskins Chaplain

Law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Nov. 7, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

On Saturday, an assailant stabbed a pastor and wounded two parishioners in a violent knife attack during a Bible study in Chantilly, Virginia. Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler attended the Bible study and helped restrain the assailant along with another church member. Brett Fuller, the senior pastor of Grace Covenant Church (the site of the stabbing), also serves as the chaplain for the Washington Redskins.

“Today, in a routine church educational setting, one of our pastors was assaulted by an attendee,” Fuller said in a statement to ABC 7 WJLA. “Two church members came to the pastor’s aid and valiantly risked their own lives to defend him. In the process, one of our members was injured.”

“The pastor and one of the members are being treated at Reston Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The other member involved sustained injuries that did not require medical attention. The assailant was taken into captivity at the scene,” the senior pastor added.

“We are in prayer for all the injured. We are grateful for the courage exhibited that prevented worse from happening. Lastly, we want to thank the broader community for their outpouring of concern and support in this time,” Fuller concluded.

Grace Covenant Church is a multi-ethnic church with special services for Latino and Korean parishioners.

Police arrested the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Chance Harrison, a resident of South Riding, Virginia. Harrison did not suffer any injuries in the attack.

“Detectives have preliminarily determined that the church was hosting an educational event when Harrison entered and stabbed a staff member without provocation,” Fairfax Police reported. “A man intervened and was also stabbed by Harrison. Harrison was subsequently confronted and subdued by Chief Roessler and several others. A knife believed to have been used by Harrison was recovered from the scene.”

Grace Covenant Church held services on Sunday following the stabbing. While doors were open for the 8:45 a.m. service, the 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. services at the church remain virtual.

Harrison’s motive remains unclear. WJLA identified him as a “member of the church.” While the senior pastor of the church is the Redskins chaplain and the Redskins have come under fire for a supposedly offensive name, it seems more plausible that Harrison had a personal beef with the pastor in question, who has yet to be identified.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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