Man Brings Gun to Church, Accidently Shoots Self

Authorities in Franklin County will learn later today whether charges will be filed against a man who brought a gun to church that accidentally went off.

It happened Sunday at Tates Creek Baptist Church near the Banks County line, according to Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas

“It was toward the end of the service and they were standing for the benediction,” Thomas said. “He had his hand in his pocket and the gun went off and struck him in the right knee.”

Some EMS personnel who were in the service attended to the man who Thomas said, was then taken in his vehicle to Stephens County Hospital.

Sheriff Thomas confirmed Tuesday the victim is the son-in-law of the pastor, the Rev. Jerrell Beatty, but his name has not yet been released.    Thomas said the man is expected to come in to his office sometime today for an interview.

It is illegal to bring a gun into a church building in Georgia and Thomas said the District Attorney is looking at the case.

“That’s one of the places where you are not supposed to bring a firearm, into a house of worship. I am waiting to hear from the District Attorney and we’ll go from there,” Thomas said Tuesday.

Thomas said the man had a permit to carry the small automatic handgun, but has not told investigators why he had a loaded gun in the sanctuary with the safety off.

“I’m just thankful no one else got hurt. This could have been a whole lot worse,” Thomas said.