Rasheed Abdul Aziz was reportedly on a mission to kill Christians.
On Sept. 15, Aziz walked into the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Bullard, Texas claiming he was sent by Allah to murder Christians and Jews who were opposed to Islam.
"Every hair on my neck just stood up," Pastor John D. Johnson told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. "It was almost like you could just like feel the presence of just negative energy."
Aziz was dressed in camouflage pants, tactical vest, boots and carried a gun when he entered the church that Sunday afternoon around 1 p.m.
"He said, 'People are going to die today,' that's what he said to me," Johnson told the Morning Telegraph.
Fortunately, the quick-thinking pastor was able to defuse the potentially dangerous situation.
"I never gave him the power of feeling that he was in control, that I was frightened," Johnson said.
Before becoming a pastor, Johnson served as a parole office and often dealt with mentally ill offenders. He said his instincts kicked in immediately.
"I just continued to engage, but I was very cautious not to raise my voice or make any quick moves," Johnson said.
Johnson told Aziz, a native of Jacksonville, Texas, to relax and have a seat and said he had to step away for a moment to check on some children who were in a nearby room.
Johnson used that brief moment to alert church members to get out of the church.
"It was as if we had trained, but we hadn't," Johnson said.
Suspicious of the pastor's actions, Aziz decided it was time to make his escape so he jumped into his car and fled the scene. He was later arrested by authorities for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
"I just think it's by the grace and mercy of God that we are not on the other side of history," Johnson said. "The other side of tragedy."
Before his arrest, Aziz apparently returned to the church hours after the intrusion and slipped a note under the church's door thanking the pastor for his kindness.
According to the television station KLTV, Aziz left the following letter for Johnson:
"My Name is Rasheed you helped me at a time of need This house is blessed by God & all Faiths muslim, Jew & the Christian shall all gather here in Peace & Justice for God as a whole For the betterment of mand kind as a whole I thank you. my title is special Ranger harbinger Aziz I be aronnd to Kneel & Pray with you."
Reports say Aziz was previously convicted for marijuana possession and aggravated robbery.
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