PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Some churchgoers in Portsmouth will notice heightened security at Sunday service. The adjustment comes on the heels of a mid-week shooting at the parking lot of St. Mark Deliverance Center.
"I was out in the parking lot, watching the cars and our members come in for choir rehearsal," said Deacon Jasper Lewis, who serves as a security guard on most Wednesday nights at the church on Turnpike Road.
At approximately 7 p.m., Lewis noticed a pickup truck, a gray or blue 201-2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4x with dark tinted windows, circle the parking lot a few times.
"The third time he did, he came with his lights out. He stopped still right at the exit down. And then, he backed up a little bit and just stood there. Soon after that, he started shooting," said Lewis.
Lewis recalled hearing three gunshots, while at the same time stumbling and crawling toward the building.
"It was only later, about 20 to 25 minutes, I felt a soreness in my heel. That's when I looked down and saw a hole in my shoe. Then, I found out I saw some holes in my pants also," said Lewis.
And part of the reason, he said, he wanted to speak about the incident is so that the person driving the pickup is caught. Lewis could not make out who was inside the pickup, but he hopes someone watching can.
"Hopefully, this truck, this individual could be identified and brought to justice," Lewis said. "I don't know why it happened here, but it happened here. So, I know it could happen somewhere else. I would like to prevent that, if that's possible."
Despite what happened, Lewis shared one thing he is sure of — his faith.
"God has been my strength and brought me through all of this. I just pray for my family. They and myself understand that situation could have been a lot worse than what it turned out to be," said Lewis.
Leaders at St. Mark Deliverance Center are reviewing longstanding security protocols, and looking at possible changes.
Meanwhile, the search for the suspect and the truck continues. It was last seen taking off onto Turnpike Road toward Frederick Boulevard.
Portsmouth police officers urge anyone with information to submit information through any of the following channels.