More than 60 Tampa Bay church leaders gathered Tuesday night to learn how to identify potential threats during Sunday services.
TRINITY, Fla. - More than 60 Tampa Bay church leaders gathered Tuesday night to learn how to identify potential threats during Sunday services.
Jim Howard, executive director of Trinity Security Allies, provides education and training to churches and faith-based schools who could not otherwise afford a professional security firm.
Growing up 90 miles from Sutherland Springs, Texas, Howard was just a kid when a church attack changed his life forever.
He says his violent father lashed out after a Sunday service because of marital problems.
"My dad was so mad at the deacon that was helping us out he took a gun out and shot and killed him."
Howard now dedicates his life to teaching churches how to survive an active shooter situation.
"We have two types of people we're looking for and that's the hurting and the threat," said Howard.
Howard enlists volunteers to join a safety team to watch over entrances, exits and the sanctuary during services, including at least one armed member.
He also ensures visitors only have one or two places to enter on Sunday's. All other side doors should be locked or monitored.
"There may be a possibility that you may have to fight."
Retired pastor Jim Britt believes figuring out how to diffuse threats without violence has never been more important.
"We know that people come and are turned away from attacking just because of the way they're handled or treated or provided for as they come," said Britt.