Security upped before shooting

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some local churches had already beefed up security before last week’s deadly church shootings in Charleston, S.C.

Last Wednesday night, nine people were shot and killed inside the historic Ema-nuel African Meth-odist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where the shooter attended a prayer meeting. Police have identified the shooter as Dylann Roof, who was arrested and taken into custody a day after the shooting.

Six women and three men were killed, including the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pickney, according to reports.

Last month, First Baptist Church Andalusia added security measures to make sure doors that needed to be closed were closed.

“We had already starting doing that prior to the tragedy,” Pastor of FBC, Dr. Fred Karthaus said. “We had some situations that caused us to be a little uncomfortable. Basically, what we’re doing is trying to limit the number of doors that we have open. We lock down the doors and rooms that aren’t being used.”

Karthaus said limiting the number of open doors forces people to enter the church through set entrances.

Karthaus said the church has deacons on patrol Sunday mornings, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights to watch for anything unusual and not normal.

FBC stepped up its security measures was because it was vulnerable, Karthaus said.

“We just began to think about the fact that there are so many doors open, so many ways to come in, we might be vulnerable to strangers and people coming in the church,” he said. “We have in years past some people walking in off the streets and they might spend the night in the chapel.”

Bobby Rhodes, pastor of St. Peter Missionary Baptist Church, said his church increased security before last week’s shooting, but wouldn’t go into the reasons why.

“We’ve always had security,” Rhodes said.

At St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, there has not been a discussion to increase security, the Rev. Cindy Howard said.

First United Methodist Church Andalusia also doesn’t have security as well.