An employee of the Crossroads Baptist Church helped a man find God Sunday night.

…just not how you’d expect.

“They (church employees) were getting ready to go on a youth trip and they were working late to get ready for the trip in the morning,” said LT. Brian Smith.

Police say Steffon Parreese Valentez Tolver entered through the back door of the Dothan, AL church at approximately 10:40 p.m. Sunday night with the intent to rob the house of God, but he certainly wasn’t counting on meeting Him.

“From the information I have received, two church employees were inside the building at the time the altercation occurred,” said Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish. “An additional church employee had left the premises to run an errand, and arrived back after the suspect had entered into the church.”

Tolver had already robbed a staff member of approximately $50, and when the second staff member returned, he attempted to rob them as well. But during the attempted robbery, that staff member drew his handgun and shot Tolver in the upper torso. Parrish said after he was shot, Tolver fled from the church building and collapsed outside.

Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd confirmed Tolver was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:18 a.m. Monday morning.

Police said Tolver was no stranger to law enforcement. The Dothan Eagle reports:

Tolver was arrested in April of 2010 and charged with robbing a person in the parking lot of an apartment complex near South Edgewood Street. Police indicated he used a toy gun during the robbery. At the time of the sentencing, Tolver’s attorney said Tolver did not have any previous felony convictions as an adult, but had one as a juvenile when he was 12.

Court records show Tolver pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in January of 2011 and although he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, he was obviously released much sooner.

“In a church or not wherever you are you have the chance to defend yourself in your home you have certain additional rights,” said LT. Brian Smith. “He (the church employee) was obviously shook up by the events which he had no choice in it occurring and him defending himself, but he was put in a position where he didn’t have a choice.”

Amen to that!

 

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