ATHENS, Ala. - An Alabama man has been charged with making a terrorist threat after he attempted to pull a gun Sunday as he spoke at a church pulpit, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Thomas Zebulun Lewter, 34, of Athens, went up to the pulpit during Sunday morning services at O’Neal Church of Christ in Athens and began talking about his pending divorce, The News Courier reported.
Lewter specifically called out his wife and father-in-law, who sat among the congregants, Limestone County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Stephen Young told the Athens newspaper.
“His actions made congregants uneasy, and many of them left the sanctuary while he was speaking,” Young said. “Other congregants approached the pulpit and tried to convince Lewter to stop talking and sit down, but he refused and attempted to grab a handgun he had on his person.”
The congregants who had approached Lewter tackled him as he tried to get the gun out of its holster, The News Courier reported. A retired Limestone County deputy at the service assisted, handcuffing and restraining Lewter until deputies could get to the church.
Lewter was taken to Athens-Limestone Hospital for evaluation before booking him into the county jail, WHNT News 19 in Huntsville reported. Jail records showed Monday morning that no bond had been set.
AL.com reported that Lewter’s wife filed for divorce on June 19, citing incompatible temperaments and Lewter’s alleged abuse of alcohol. She is seeking full custody of the couple’s two young children.