Pastor urges gunman to surrender

Local News

FOUNTAIN, Fla. (WMBB) — A local pastor walked into his church on Sunday morning and was greeted with a gun to his head.

James Sharkey is the head pastor at First Baptist Church of Fountain and was opening up the church before Raymie Godfrey came out from behind a door.

Sharkey says Godfrey then started to give him instructions.

“So he’s walking me down the aisle and then he said go down the hallway towards the fellowship hall so I did that and then we got in there and he said I want you to unlock the door to my office,” Sharkey said.

Sharkey says he believes Godfrey wanted to get into his office in order to shut off the security system.

“As I was starting to disconnect it, Ms. Nicholson pulled up and pulled right up to the door and I knew he cared for her cause he always called her grandma. And I said to him ‘you really want to get grandma involved in this?” Sharkey said.

To keep her from getting hurt, Sharkey said he stopped her from coming inside the church.

“I said ‘Ms. Nicholson, just get in your car and call the police.’ I said, ‘Ray’s in here with a gun,” Sharkey said.

When this happened, Sharkey said Godfrey ran outside into the wooded area. That was the last time Sharkey saw the suspect.

However, Sharkey said he knows Godfrey very well.

“He’s been doing work around here, helping us restore the church around here and everything and we paid him a salary for that and we let him live in a van in the back. So what he was after, what he wanted, I have no idea,” Sharkey said.

Sharkey said some of the church members would even give Godfrey clothing when he needed it and offered to wash his clothes on many occasions.

“I think he was just playing us but we did what we were supposed to do as Christians and what happens after that is up to him,” Sharkey said.

After the incident, the church continued on with their services. Sharkey says he did this because it was just the right thing to do.

“I’m not going to let somebody stop that and change our focus of what we’re supposed to be doing in this community and that’s spreading the word of God. If I let someone with a gun come in here and change all that, I’m not doing that good of a job am I?” Sharkey said.

Raymie Godfrey

As of 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Godfrey has not been caught by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

He was last seen at Singer Road near Blue Springs Road. Godfrey is considered armed and dangerous.

If you see him, call 911.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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