A Texas youth pastor is recovering from the injuries he sustained Friday evening when he was shot by a troubled young man.
Pastor Eddie Contreras was shot in the face and hand by 20-year-old Josue Pablo as he was in the middle of preaching to a group of about 35 at Walnut Park Assembly of God Church in Garland. After going through the pastor's hand, the bullet hit Conteras in the face.
"One of our beloved youth pastors, one of our leaders, is down, but he's not out," reported the church's senior pastor, Mauricio Ramirez, on the Sunday after the shooting.
According to reports, some in the congregation initially thought Pablo was part of a skit as he entered the church yelling obscenities and accusing them of being fake.
When Contreras moved toward Pablo to calm him down, Pablo fired at the pastor and afterward argued with his sister and mother, who were present at the time. Pablo's sister and mother had encouraged Pablo to come to church in light of the personal struggles he was having.
After arguing, Pablo reportedly left the church and was apprehended by police officers a few blocks away.
Contreras, meanwhile, was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he spent eight hours in surgery.
The pastor, who was in stable condition late Saturday and able to walk and stand by Sunday, is expected to recover.
Though shocked, Contreras's church is praying for their pastor and for Pablo, whom they've forgiven.
"Pablo, we do not hold vengeance or resentment toward you. We will forgive. We do forgive," Ramirez said Sunday.
Pablo, meanwhile, has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.