FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- With the church shooting massacre in Texas fresh on the minds of many, church leaders in Cumberland County came together Monday evening to prepare for the worst possible case scenarios in their sanctuaries.
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It was a full house at the Cumberland County Sheriff's Training Center. Most of the audience was composed of pastors, parishioners and local law enforcement hoping to learn how to protect their congregations in the event an active shooter walks through their church doors.
"Being a soldier, nervousness always comes into play. You just need to learn how to face it," said Larry Jenkins, who attended the course.
A 22-slide presentation was shown to the audience. It laid out a plan of action that local churches should take.
"We don't know if it will happen. We prefer that it wouldn't, but if you're prepared, you know your people are trained and ready to take action if necessary," said Scott Manning, who attended the course.
Manning was among the many in the crowd. He organized a security team for his church in Stedman just to be safe.
The presentation covered many issues and asked the audience to establish a plan of action, designate someone to carry a firearm and even identify potential threats.
It's a plan of action that could have been helpful almost two years ago for Pastor Larry Wright. He relived the day a gunman walked into his church.
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"When he walked, he walked in with a semi-automatic rifle with a fully loaded clip," said Pastor Larry Wright. "I asked him, can I help you sir? He said I want you to pray for me."
Pastor Wright was able to talk the gunman down and persuade him to hand over the weapon. It's a situation that could have had a deadly outcome. That's why Sheriff Ennis Wright said educating local churches is crucial.
"You want to survive the incident. That's what we're here to do to help you survive," Sheriff Wright said.