Several people were injured during a Bible study event on Saturday when an alleged congregation member stabbed the pastor before he was stopped by a police chief who was in attendance.
Authorities said the incident unfolded at around 3 p.m. Saturday at the Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly, Virginia, located in Fairfax County.
When the stabbing took place, several people, including Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler, happened to be there.
“He did his part in the moment,” a female witness said of the police chief, according to ABC News. “Sometimes we can’t prevent injury. I know people were injured but it could have been worse, I do believe. I think it could have been a lot worse. There are a lot of emotions but I do have faith that everything is going to be okay.”
Brett Fuller, another pastor at the Grace Covenant Church and chaplain of the Washington NFL team formerly known as the Redskins, released a statement about the attack to news outlets.
“Today, in a routine church educational setting, one of our pastors was assaulted by an attendee,” Fuller said. “Two church members came to the pastor’s aid and valiantly risked their own lives to defend him. In the process, one of our members was injured. The pastor and one of the members are being treated at Reston Hospital for non life-threatening injuries. The other member involved sustained injuries that did not require medical attention. The assailant was taken into captivity at the scene.”
Officers responded around 3pm for a reported stabbing at Grove Covenant Church, 4600 Brookfield Corp Dr Chantilly. Preliminarily, 2 people stabbed- both non-life threatening. FCPD Chief Roessler was on-scene and helped subdue suspect who was arrested. More info to follow. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/fE1e5Xisuu
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) July 18, 2020
“We are in prayer for all the injured,” added Fuller. “We are grateful for the courage exhibited that prevented worse from happening. Lastly, we want to thank the broader community for their outpouring of concern and support in this time.”
The suspect was identified by police as 32-year-old Chance Harrison from South Riding, Virginia, as reported by WUSA TV. Harrison was taken to a nearby jail and was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, one count of felony assault on a police officer, and one count of misdemeanor assault. He is being held without bond.
A motive for the attack was not disclosed.
Two people were being treated for non-serious, non-life-threatening injuries, officials told ABC.