Oklahoma pastor Terry Parker is being called a hero for putting himself in danger by blocking a knife-wielding man who held a toddler hostage at a Wal-Mart store in Midwest City. The pastor, who stood by the terrified mother, says, "God placed me there."
"I just tried to position myself, not having a clue what to do, but positioning myself in a place where one way or another if that gentleman was going to come [my direction], he had to go through me or my cart," Parker, who had with his 14-year-old daughter at his side at the time of the hostage situation, told News9.
Parker, who did not identify his church, made it clear to the suspect that he wasn't moving. "He would make small approaches in my general direction, like I was feeling him out if I was going to stop him, and I would just move with him and gravitate the same direction as he did," he said.
The pastor remained calm throughout. "My mindset was there was a small child, a desperate mom, a youth and this child had a knife to its abdomen," he said. "God placed me there for a reason but he could have done it for anybody."
The pastor was aware of the danger, but "the thing that bothered me more was that I probably walked past that guy two times in that store and saw him every time."
Parker said the real hero was the police officer. "Officer Huff made a choice that I would never want to make. And he seized that opportunity knowing that a child's life was in imminent danger and took the shot he needed to take. He's the hero in that situation."
The officer shot the suspect, who was holding a knife to the throat of the 2-year-old girl, in his head to end the standoff. Parker said the officer did not do anything that he should not have done.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes thanked Parker at a press conference on Friday. "We appreciate the efforts of Mr. Parker inside the store," KFOR quoted Clabes as saying.
However, the pastor says he's uncomfortable with being called a hero. "That word keeps being thrown my direction and I'm uncomfortable with that terminology," Parker was quoted as saying. "I'm just a local pastor. I own a regular business here in town and I just happened to be shopping. I didn't even get my groceries that day as we know."