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Brothers stop gun-wielding cousin from entering church

Posted February 24, 2010

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— Two brothers are being hailed as heroes in Louisburg after they stopped a man with a gun from entering a church last weekend.

James White had been asked to leave St. Delight United Church of Christ, on U.S. Highway 401 south of Louisburg, on Saturday morning after acting inappropriately, according to his cousin, Michael White.

St. Delight United Church of Christ near Louisburg Sheriff: Gunman could have shot 12 at church

A short time later, when as many as 30 people were inside the church feeding needy residents, James White returned with a rifle.

"He made a statement, 'Stop me from coming in my church now. Stop me from coming in now,'" said Michael White, who was outside the church at the time.

"Upon doing so, he started to raise the rifle," he said. "I didn't think. (There was) not much time to think. I knew that, once he got the gun into a full crest, he would be in total control."

Michael White's brother, Steven White, saw him grab the barrel of the rifle and begin struggling with their cousin. He then joined the fray.

"I didn't think about fear or anything else. All I thought about is what might have had happened if we didn't get that gun up out of his hand," Steven White said.

The brothers wrestled James White to the ground and pulled the rifle from his hands. One shot was fired in the struggle, but no one was hit.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green said James White had enough ammunition to shoot a dozen people.

Church members said the brothers' quick action was nothing short of heroic.

James White, 52, of 190 George Leonard Road in Louisburg, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was being held Wednesday at Central Prison under a $75,000 bond.

Green said James White has a mental illness and was combative when he was taken to jail.

"I don't know what his intentions were – how far he would have gone. I just don't know. I can't get into his head," said Michael White, who added that he hopes his cousin will get the help he needs.


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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Feb 25, 2010

    Congrats to Michael and Steven White -- they are heros.

  • Adelinthe Feb 25, 2010

    Thank God for their courage.

    God bless.


  • BubbaDuke Feb 25, 2010

    That's what separates heroes from victims.

  • Allwaysajoy Feb 25, 2010

    My first thoughts are: Thank God, thank God, thank God!! --kadee123


  • 007KnightRider Feb 25, 2010

    Kudos to the brothers!! The situation could have played out differently had they not been there at the time.

  • Travised Feb 25, 2010

    Good job on stopping him!

    This is the SECOND story of this type (person brings rifle to site and is stopped) within a few days. Littleton CO was just the other day, outside a school.

  • thought Feb 25, 2010

    Great job! If he has mental issues how did he get to a gun? He should not have one or access to one.

  • nonemeant Feb 25, 2010

    My first thoughts are: Thank God, thank God, thank God!!

  • tippinbyya1 Feb 25, 2010

    Wow 75000.00 BAIL are u serious? Crystal Mangum threatened her boyfriend and Got a MILLIOn Dollar Bond. This Fool attempts to go in a Church with the intent to KILL and get a Bail that low.GOTTA LOVE THE SOUTH...

  • anneonymousone Feb 25, 2010

    Well done, gentlemen!

    I am concerned that, due to this story and other recent news articles, people will equate mental illness with violence, when that is not typical behavior for most people with most kinds of mental illness, and, I believe, most violent crimes (and the most violent of violent crimes) are committed by people who aare considered sane, even if their actions are not.