A pastor from the US state of South Carolina is being hailed as a hero after being stabbed as he attempted to rescue a 61-year-old man from a brutal attack. Rev Marcus Kaiser, the rector of Church of the Holy Comforter in the town of Sumter, put his life on the line after stepping in to help a man who was being stabbed on the church campus.
In a statement issued to his congregants, Kaiser said he came across the assailant after he finished distributing communion at Sunday service on August 30. He initially spotted a member of the parish walking his dog and noticed that they seemed very anxious, checking over their shoulder as they walked. "Something didn’t seem right, so I asked if he was okay. The parishioner indicated he had been “clubbed” by the assailant in front of the church," Kaiser wrote.
In a bid to prevent a further attack, Kaiser walked back towards the assailant, who was seated by the entrance to the church. "I called from a distance asking whether the person was okay," he said. "Very quickly, the person grabbed something out of their bag and ran at me. As I called 911, the assailant swung at me with something in their hand, what turned out to be some kind of metal pick or knife."
Kaiser said he and the other victim were "okay" and noted that he was "able to avoid most of the blows".
"The only injuries were a couple scrapes to my right arm and one somewhat deep puncture just above my right wrist," he added. "The worst part was the 6 or 7 hours spent in the emergency room to get a tetanus shot, some antibiotics, and some bandages."
Kaiser called the assailant a "very disturbed, mentally ill, and spiritually oppressed person" and urged prayer for all who are in the midst of "mental illness and spiritual darkness".
"Most of all, pray for what I believe is a very disturbed, mentally ill, and spiritually oppressed person," he added. "I don’t know what will happen with the legal system, but I trust our law enforcement and public officials to deal with it appropriately."
Kaiser also recounted some positive aspects of the ordeal.
"As I often say, I don’t get to meet as many non-Christians as most of you do. Yesterday, I spent time with police officers, hospital staff, and others intrigued by the preacher who got stabbed. I’m happy to bear that title if that’s what it leads to,” he wrote. “Even better, two young ladies drove up to say that they saw what happened. These two wonderful people asked if they could pray for me right there as the police surrounded us and people driving down Main St. looked on. Not only did they pray for my healing, they prayed for the assailant and for the witness of Holy Comforter. That was the only time I cried during the whole affair. God is good all the time!”
The 31-year-old suspect has been arrested and charged with first-degree assault and battery, third-degree assault and battery, malicious injury to personal property and providing false information to police.