A Brooklyn bishop was in the middle of delivering a sermon during a church livestream on Sunday when a group of armed gunmen robbed him of more than $400,000 worth of jewelry, CBS News reports. Bishop Lamor Whitehead and the members of his congregation were thankfully unharmed in the heist.
- Bishop Whitehead was only about five or 10 minutes into his sermon. At that point, he saw the door in the back of the room at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie kicked open as three or four men stormed in with guns. Whitehead believes he was targeted specifically and that this was not a random attack.
- Why would anyone want to target him? The bishop says it’s likely because he helped get a suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez in May. “I turned him in, but the media called me ‘the bling, bling bishop.’ They had my Rolls-Royce caw all over everywhere, and I feel that that played a part in this. I think all pastors should be able to get permits for pistols,” Whitehead explained.
- Whitehead was willing to do anything to assure he, his family, and his congregation stayed safe. “I said, ‘Alright, alright, alright,’ pretty much stating that I’m not going to do anything because I know you’re coming for me. You’re coming straight to me. I don’t want my parishioners hurt. I’ve got women and children there,” Whitehead recalled.
- The robbers wanted the bishop’s high-end jewelry. “As I got down, one went to my wife and took all her jewelry and had the gun in front of my 8-month-old baby’s face. Took off my bishop’s ring, my wedding band and took off my bishop’s chain, and then I had chains underneath my robe and he started tapping my neck to see if anything else. So that means they knew. They watched and they knew that I have other jewelry,” he told CBS News. All in all, he believes the criminals made off with more than $400,000 worth of jewels.
- The whole thing was broadcast on the church’s livestream. While you could see the gunmen barge in and Bishop Whitehead dropping to the floor, what you couldn’t see was that the gunmen had guns pointed at his deacons at the door. Not only that, but nearly 100 congregants in attendance all dropped to the floor in terror, including young children. “My church is traumatized. The women and children are still crying. Babies are still crying,” he said.
- Whitehead is calling for the suspects to turn themselves in. Police say the criminals took off in a white Mercedes and there’s a license plate number to go along with it. “These men, they need to turn themselves in,” Whitehead urged. “I forgive you and I’m praying for you, and I hope that God delivers you from the mindset of who you are at this time.