Man who brought gun to Fayetteville church jailed
Posted January 7, 2016
Fayetteville, N.C. — The man who entered a Fayetteville church on New Year’s Eve with a gun and returned days later to apologize is now behind bars.
The man, who has been identified at Gregory Boone, 32, admitted to being a convicted felon and said he had brought the gun to Heal the Land Outreach Ministries during a New Year’s Eve service because he thought it would be a safe place to surrender the weapon without getting into trouble.
Fayetteville police had originally withheld Boone’s identity, saying they did not arrest or charge him on New Year’s Eve because of his mental state at the time.
"He asked for help and our key concern for him was his health and well-being and his mental well-being," said Lt. David McLaurin with the Fayetteville Police Department. "He agreed to go to the hospital for a voluntary comittment and that's what we took him for."
Boone has since been arrested by the State Probation Division on a probation violation. He was out on parole after being charged in 2012 with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
"He wanted to get rid of the gun, is what he told me," said Bishop Larry Wright. "He did the right thing but he did it the wrong way."
Wright, the Fayetteville city councilman and pastor who got the weapon out of Boone’s hands and prayed with him, visited the man in jail Wednesday. He said he hasn’t given up on helping Boone turn his life around.
“I didn't look at him for his past mistakes. I didn't look at him for even what he had done that night. I looked at him as a man that made a decision to turn his life around," said Wright. “I prayed for him. We had a short prayer. When I left, he was pepped up and he was OK.”
Wright said Boone is a veteran who suffers from PTSD and had been off his medication for three months. Wright said Boone has resumed taking his medication and is hopefully on the path to getting his life back on track.
"I want this man to be a success story and I know that he can be."
Wright said the church still has plans to baptize Boone when he is released from jail.
Fayetteville police said the investigation is still ongoing and charges from New Year's Eve could still be filed.