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BOILING SPRINGS, S.C — A shotgun-toting man kicked in a church door during Sunday services before being disarmed by congregants who saw the armed man coming through the church windows, locked the doors, and sprang on him after he burst inside, sheriff’s deputies said.

No one was hurt at the Southside Freewill Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, a community in Spartanburg County.

Deputies charged Jesse Gates, 38, with burglary, disturbing a place of worship, and attempted kidnapping. The kidnapping charge was lodged because Gates allegedly pointed his weapon at the church pastor, resulting in his being restrained, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Tony Ivey said.

Gates told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs to a patrol car taking him to jail that his children had been taken away and he was trying to get someone to listen to him. Gates said he asked the church for help, but was frustrated.

Georgians reacting to Martin killing

ATLANTA — The shooting death of Trayvon Martin reverberated across Georgia on Sunday with “hoodie” church services, calls for lawmakers to strengthen gun laws and gatherings to remember the teen.

Activists in Atlanta are planning rallies to honor the 17-year-old, who was killed in February by a Florida neighborhood watch captain in the central Florida town of Sanford, and pressure authorities to make an arrest.

At Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, hundreds of worshippers wore hoodies like the hooded sweatshirt that Martin was wearing when he was shot. The Rev. Raphael Warnock compared the teenager’s death to other tragedies that helped define the civil rights movement.

“They said his name was Trayvon Martin. But he looked like Emmett Till,” Warnock said.


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