Man who tried to shoot pastor during service livestream allegedly shot cousin to death that same day

Francis Akhalbey May 09, 2024
Bernard Junior Polite is also accused of killing his cousin -- Left image via Facebook | Right photo credit: Pennsylvania State Police

Bernard Junior Polite, the Pennsylvania man who was seen attempting to shoot a pastor during a Sunday service livestream, has also been charged in connection with the shooting death of his cousin.

Per NBC News, authorities said Polite, 26, allegedly shot and killed his 56-year-old cousin Derek Polite before he made his way to Jesus Dwelling Place Church in Allegheny County. Both incidents happened on Sunday.

A liverstream footage of the church’s Sunday service showed Polite, after entering the building, aiming a gun at Pastor Glenn Germany as he was delivering a sermon, Face2Face Africa reported. The pastor ducked to a podium and shocked congregants were heard screaming. Pennsylvania police said Polite was unable to open fire because the gun had seemingly jammed. 

A church deacon managed to tackle Polite to the ground, and Germany ultimately disarmed the suspect. Authorities also said Germany and a congregant restrained Polite until police responded to the scene.

Polite was arrested and charged with criminal attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. Family members who saw reports of the attempted shooting at the church then made their way to Polite and his cousin’s residence to “check on” the victim’s “well-being,” authorities said. They found Derek’s body in the home.

In a statement, the Allegheny County Police Department said they received a report about a male shot in the 500 block of Stokes Avenue in North Braddock. First responders who arrived at the address found the elder Polite’s body inside the home.

“Detectives learned 26-year-old Bernard Junior Polite, Derek Polite’s cousin, was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police following an incident at a North Braddock church at 1:08 pm on May 5,” the statement said.

“After witnessing reports of that incident, family members of Derek Polite went to his residence in the 500 block of Stokes Avenue to check on his wellbeing and discovered him deceased inside.”

Authorities also said witnesses informed detectives that Polite was “seen pacing outside the residence the morning of May 5, and later a neighbor reported hearing a noise which could have been a gunshot at approximately 10:00 am.”

The Pennsylvania State Police later recovered a firearm in the wake of the attempted shooting at the church, the statement said, adding that it was “later determined the projectile recovered from the victim matched the firearm seized by State Police.”

Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns in a news conference on Tuesday said the motives behind the attempted church shooting and Derek’s killing were unclear, per NBC News. Kearns said nothing showed the victim and Polite had gotten into an altercation at the home. He also said nothing showed Polite was linked to Jesus Dwelling Place Church.

A family member initially told the news outlet that Polite had been staying with Derek for several years. The family member said the 26-year-old has a history of mental illness, though there had not been any concerning incidents during his time in the Pittsburgh area. 

Polite, who was denied bail during his arraignment on Monday, has been additionally charged with one count of criminal homicide in his cousin’s killing.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 9, 2024


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