Two Arrested After Bringing Gun Into Church

CHARLOTTE, NC — A 16-year-old boy and a man walk into a north Charlotte church Sunday with a gun in their backpack.  Although the guys told police they had no intent to hurt anyone, there’s concern about what could have happened if police weren’t called.

An open door policy at the First Haitian Church of Grace on West Sugar Creek Road.  On Sunday, two guys walked into its open doors.

16-year-old Austin Hannon and 27-year-old Michael Blake came during Sunday service asking church leaders to speak with someone to pray.  To church leaders, the two men wearing a backpack seemed out of place.  Some say they were acting suspicious, so church leaders called police.

“We understand that churches welcome people in.  That is great and all, but you have to think… the same thing happened in Charleston…. they welcomed that man in,” said CMPD Detective Gary McFadden.

McFadden is a 30-year CMPD veteran detective, who’s spent a lot of time helping local churches with safety and security protocol.

CMPD has been hosting church safety seminars, and The Urban League is donating security cameras and providing training to houses of worship in Charlotte.

“Have a plan,” said McFadden.  “Have a plan in action if some type of crisis comes into their church.”

The plan worked for this church.  These two men brought in a gun, but no one was hurt.

Officers arrested and charged Blake with carrying a concealed weapon, and Hannon with possession of a firearm by a minor and carrying a concealed weapon.

We reached out to the church, but leaders did not want to talk about specifics on what led up to them calling police.