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Church staffer & children OK after homosexual activist takes him hostage

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (BP)–A church staff member and his three children escaped harm June 18 when a homosexual activist angry at the Southern Baptist Convention took the staffer hostage until being subdued by San Diego police.

The incident took place at First Southern Baptist Church, San Diego, when Allan Ross, 46, who operates an extensive homosexual website, entered the fellowship hall around 4 p.m. while David Powell, 44, minister of maintenance and media, was shampooing carpet with the help of his 16-year-old son and 14- and 9-year-old daughters.

Larry Lewis, former president of the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, is the interim pastor of the church, which was the first SBC congregation in San Diego, founded in 1942.

Powell said Ross initially asked to speak with the pastor. Lewis was away from the building, with his wife, Betty Jo, and a granddaughter at a playground. Powell agreed to contact Lewis from the church office in the adjacent main building.

As they were walking toward the office, Powell recounted that Ross revealed a jagged bottom of a glass bottle. “I will hurt you if I have to,” Powell quoted Ross as saying. Powell said Ross also threatened to cut the artery in his neck and take his own life.

Powell inquired about Ross’ threats and was told by the activist that he wanted to talk with the media, that he wanted the pastor and a TV reporter and camera on site.

Powell said Ross principally complained about the Southern Baptist Convention’s stances against homosexual behavior reported in the media during the previous week’s SBC annual meeting in New Orleans. Powell said Ross also complained that there are too many Christians in government and made derisive comments about the Boy Scouts.

Powell said Ross agreed to keep Powell’s children unaware of the standoff.

Contact with a local TV station was established in a call from the church office, and Powell then sought to contact Lewis. Powell called Lewis’ cell phone and left a message. The Lewises had heard it ringing in their parked car and picked up the message, calling 911.

San Diego police responded to the scene, with officers finally storming the office about 45 minutes after Ross had taken Powell hostage, ordering Ross to drop his jagged bottle and, when he refused, immediately shooting him twice with a “beanbag” type of bullet and releasing a police dog on him. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Ross was then taken to a mental hospital and will face kidnapping and burglary charges.

Powell said June 19 he came away from the incident with a renewed appreciation for the exhortation “to give it all to him,” to God.

“Where I shouldn’t be calm, he allowed me to be calm,” Powell said, and God worked out the situation “right down to the children” who remained unaware of the crisis until it had concluded.