Tulsa Police Seek Suspect Who Assaulted Woman In Church
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa police are looking for a man who assaulted a woman inside a church Tuesday morning. The man asked to see the pastor and as the woman unlocked the door to let him in, he picked up a metal folding chair, bashed her over the head, ripped at her clothes and dragged her down a hall to the bathroom.
She screamed, "Jesus has the power to stop this," and the man immediately let go of her and ran off.
The Adventist Fellowship Church sits way back off 21st street. Still, they are security minded, with doors that have to be unlocked to let in visitors, security cameras and a buzzer that sounds every time someone enters.
But, all that didn't deter one man. Police say when the woman showed up Tuesday morning before ten to volunteer, he was there and asked to see the pastor, so she unlocked the door and he attacked her.
Police say he's in his 30's and very muscular. Pictures show he's got her arm and is dragging her.
Detective Rod Russo, with the Tulsa Police Department said, "She did everything right, she really did. One of the best things she did was yell for help when she saw she was being dragged."
Even though the surveillance pictures are dark, detectives hope someone recognizes the man.
Russo is also canvassing the area around the church, driving through neighborhoods and apartment complexes, looking for the suspect.
He says stranger attacks like this are pretty rare.
"Anybody who would actually do this, let alone, do it inside a church, I want to find," Russo said.
The church staff is heartbroken the attack happened and will add even more security measures. But, they are also focusing on the positive.
Pastor Stephen Carlile said, "We know it could've been worse and we're just praising God she's okay. That she's safe and healing."
The pastor plans to tell his congregation on Saturday that a miracle happened; that, when the woman called out the name of Jesus, she was protected.
"It is very sad in a place that, many times we consider a safe place and a place of refuge, yes it is sad. We do know God is still protecting and still here," Carlile said.
The church would prefer not to have this type of publicity, but the attack is another reminder that crime can, and does, happen anywhere. So, it's important to keep your guard up and think about safety no matter where you are.
If you recognize the suspect, police as you to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.