TAMPA, Fla. — The embattled pastor who held a large service despite the county's "safer-at-home" order said he is shutting down the church.
"I'm doing this to protect the congregation," the pastor, Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, said on social media Wednesday night.
Dr. Howard-Browne's announcement comes just days after the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested him for holding a large service at The River at Tampa Bay Church over the weekend.
The embattled pastor said has no ill-will toward Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
"I actually personally like him," Dr. Howard-Browne said on social media. "I got all the texts and conversations with the Sheriff."
The pastor, Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, is charged with unlawful assembly and violation of a public health emergency order.
The River at Tampa Bay Church held services late Sunday morning at its Tampa location and posted a live stream of it to their YouTube page. The sheriff's office confirmed after the Monday press conference the pastor was arrested.
The YouTube video showed dozens of people packed inside the church, shoulder-to-shoulder, not abiding by the six-foot social distancing guidelines set by the CDC, or the safer-at-home order put in place by Hillsborough County.
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