Texas teen arrested for sending mass shooting threat to church during worship service livestream

Open House Ministries, a church based in Liberty, Texas. | Facebook/Open House Ministries

A 19-year-old has been arrested for sending a mass shooting threat to a Texas church during a Sunday morning worship service.

The Liberty Police Department arrested Brady Michael Martinez of Kountze on Sunday afternoon on “Charges of Terroristic Threat” after he posted the mass shooting threat on Open House Ministries' Facebook page during their livestream. 

“Martinez will be transported back to Liberty County where he will face these charges. There is expected to be charges coming in Hardin County as well for a similar incident on the same day,” the Liberty Police Department said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Monday

In an earlier statement, the police department said they had conducted a “Terroristic Threat Investigation” connected to the threat Martinez sent to the church.

“Initial investigation determined that a male identified as 19 year old from Kountze, Texas area made a comment on Facebook during a church service live stream causing a scare,” authorities said in an earlier statement.

Brady Michael Martinez, a 19-year-old from Kountze, Texas, was arrested on Jan. 5, 2020, for posting a mass shooting threat against a church on Facebook. | Hardin County Sheriff's Office

“Officers with the city of Liberty Police Department and surrounding agencies arrived on scene and determined there was no active threat to the church members or public.”

In a video posted on their Facebook page Sunday, Open House Ministries commended both their own building security team and the response of the local police department in the situation. 

“What happened this morning only happened because we’ve stirred the devil up,” said pastor Donald Scott in the video. “When you make him mad, he’s going to show up and he’s going to try to disrupt.”

Scott went on to declare that he and his congregation are “going to go on” and they are “going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

In addition to the charges he's facing for the threat against Open House Ministries, Martinez faces misdemeanor charges for a similar incident against Crestwood Baptist Church in Hardin County, according to news station KBMT 12 News Now.

The threat against Open House Ministries came just a week after a gunman entered West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, and killed two people before being killed himself by a security guard.

The gunman, identified as 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, opened fire at West Freeway Church during a Dec. 29 worship service that was livestreamed on Facebook. 

After murdering two men, Kinnunen was shot by Jack Wilson, a 71-year-old firearms instructor who also served as a reserve sheriff’s deputy.

“The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson said in a post on Facebook after the shooting.

“I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church. I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

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