UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WJZY/WFXR) — A disturbance at an outdoor church service in Union County led to a knife-wielding man being shot by a deputy on Sunday, according to authorities.
According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the incident took place around 10:25 a.m. on Sunday, May 24 at Oak Grove Baptist Church in the 4000 block of Newtown Road. Authorities say 54-year-old Christopher Eugene Ross was armed with a knife and was disrupting an outdoor service by yelling obscenities at worshipers while standing at the edge of his gravel driveway across the street.
Officials say one of the worshipers who was familiar with Ross walked toward him, hoping to talk him down. However, Ross allegedly picked up rocks and threw them toward the worshiper, after which authorities say someone called 911 and deputies responded to the scene.
According to the sheriff’s office, one deputy approached Ross outside his home, but Ross — still armed with a knife — fought with the deputy, who then unsuccessfully tasered Ross. The man continued to resist arrest, resulting in another deputy shooting Ross and striking him at least two times, authorities say. However, Ross reportedly continued to fight until a third deputy intervened, after which Ross was eventually taken into custody.
Ross was transported to Atrium Main with non-life threatening injuries, but officials say he will be taken to the Union County Jail after he is discharged from the hospital. Meanwhile, two deputies injured over the course of the incident were treated by EMS, authorities say.
According to the sheriff’s office, Ross faces charges of disorderly conduct for interfering with the church service; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon against law enforcement officers; and resisting, delaying, and obstructing an officer.
Authorities say deputies already responded to calls from the church earlier in May after Ross became aggravated that churchgoers were blowing their horns during portions of the prayer service. The church discontinued that practice following the complaint, but it still moved forward with a public address system, the sheriff’s office says.
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