North Carolina Pastor Encounters Knife Attacker, Prays With Him Before Suffering Cuts to Face

A North Carolina pastor has revealed how he prayed with a robber who entered his church, before he was shot dead by police.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer Timothy Kiefer fatally shot Michael Daniel Kelley, 32, in a shopping center on the 1500 block of West Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, according to a police statement.

Recounting his ordeal at around 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Southend Presybterian Church pastor Larry James told Fox 46 he believed Kelley saw him as "an easy mark to get some money."

"When he said he was going to kill me, I said, 'not today!' I never believed that was going to happen."

The clergyman said he then tried to help Kelley. He spoke to the knifeman about his faith and turning his life around, before praying with him. But the situation deteriorated as James tried to lead Kelley out of the church.

"He turned to me with the box knife and said, 'I will kill you, give me the money, give me your telephone, give me your car and your keys'," said the pastor.

Kelley then cut James' face when he denied his demands. In response, the pastor "popped him in the jaw real good," he said.

Kelley fled the scene on Freeland Lane, near Clanton Road, in James' car, and used the stolen car to head to rob a nearby Family Dollar store on West Tyvola Road, according to police.

James described his attacker's death as "really sad," and said he didn't expect him to "end up dead."

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Kelley was later found walking in a shopping center parking lot on 1500 of West Boulevard when Kiefer identified him. Kiefer gave "loud, repeated, verbal commands" to the suspect, and he "immediately began to walk quickly toward Officer Kiefer, rapidly closing the distance."

After Kiefer instructed his K9 to "engage" Kelley, the suspect is said to have sprinted towards the officer.

"Officer Kiefer fired his service weapon, striking Mr. Kelley. CMPD recovered a knife at the scene," the police statement read.

Kelley was pronounced dead at Atrium Health hospital, Fox 46 reported. It is unclear how many times Kiefer shot Kelley, or where he was hit.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Kiefer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

The deceased's parents Michael and Lisa Kelley told The Charlotte Observer their son was a father of two, who struggled with addiction.

Using his nickname, Michael and Lisa Kelley wrote in a statement seen by The Charlotte Observer: "It is our belief at this time that the actions of Danny, before and during his encounter with Officer Kiefer, left the officer with no other reasonable course of action than to use deadly force to protect himself and the community at large."

The statement continued: "While we are deeply saddened and devastated by the death of our son, we would also like to express our heartfelt sorrow for the victims of his crimes and ultimately to Officer Kiefer. We bear no ill feelings towards Officer Kiefer and understand that this is a trying and troubling time for him too. "

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Police Department officer Timothy Kiefer fatally shot Michael Daniel Kelley on Wednesday. Getty Images
North Carolina Pastor Encounters Knife Attacker, Prays With Him Before Suffering Cuts to Face | U.S.