Pastor shot at the pulpit - - Jackson, MS

Pastor shot at the pulpit

GARLAND, TX (NBC) - A Texas youth pastor is recovering after being shot at point-blank range while giving a sermon to dozens of teens.

Pastor Eddie Contreras was in the middle of a sermon to about 50 teenagers at the Walnut Park Casa De Mi Gloria Church in Garland Friday evening when Jose Pablo walked in, visibly distraught.

Eyewitnesses say Pastor Contreras ignored the interruption and preached on.

Cesar Valenciano was standing nearby.

"He reached to his belt, and back belt and pulled out a gun and told everyone to back up," he recalls. "He shot him and he fell and everybody scattered."

Police say that Jose Pablo had no criminal history, but was having some family problems.

His mother and sister attend church at Walnut Park and they brought him there to address some of those issues.

Police have charged Pablo with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Members say they won't let the incident steal their joy.

"We will not start living in fear," said Senior Pastor Maurico Elizondo. "We will not be captive by the things that happen in society."

Pastor Contreras remains hospitalized, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be rewritten, rebroadcast or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly