The Eagle Christian Centre in Newlands, Randburg, has been left reeling and shaken following the killing of one of its pastors during a church service on Friday.
Gauteng police have launched a manhunt for a group of six suspects who robbed the congregation at gunpoint before shooting dead Pastor Dwayne Gordon, who was giving a sermon, and wounded three others.
The congregants were robbed of their personal belongings.
Speaking to The Star yesterday, Bishop Dalton Adams said, as the church, they are still shocked by the brazen nature of the incident. He said the church is re-looking how it can move on from this incident, adding that Pastor Gordon was a bright young man.
“It is a very tragic thing that happened on Friday night. We continue to share our deepest condolences with the family and the church community. This has come to us as a great shock that evil does, will come into the house of worship and do this heinous crime by shooting the pastor while he is still preaching. Pastor Gordon was a young man with great potential,” Adams said.
He said the church is pained by this incident. Adams, who is the leader of ACDP, said harsher penalties need to be imposed on criminals due to the state of lawlessness in the country.
“The pain is very palpable at the moment. The church is considering serious decision as to what to do moving forward in safeguarding our churches. We are calling for government to do something as it is more and more glaring that we are in the state of lawlessness. If we look at what is happening with CIT robberies and other things happening in broad daylight, it is clear that we are in a state of lawlessness. We need to deal with perpetrators in a more harsher ways, and as the ACDP, we believe we must bring back the death penalty,” he said.
Adams said they are still waiting for the police to investigate the murder.
In the meantime, police spokesperson Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi says they are investigating a case of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
“One of the victims who succumbed to his injuries was identified as the pastor of the church. The suspects robbed people of their cellphones and other belongings before they fled the scene.”
This afternoon, faith-based organisations are expected to hold prayers on Monday at the Eagles Christian Centre in Newlands, Johannesburg.
On Sunday, City of Johannesburg Council Speaker Colleen Makhubele said it is unacceptable for communities to live in constant fear due to high incidents of violent crime, including murders in the province. Makhubele visited the church to offer her support to the church.
“You cannot walk into a place of worship like this and start shooting congregants. It just shows how we’ve lost social control and social order. We will always have this crisis if nothing is done from the presidency all the way to the mayor’s office. We need something done decisively.”