NEW: Shot fired in black Memphis church while choir practices

by Kimberly Pennington, National Correspondent |

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- A bullet was fired at St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee sometime Wednesday night.

According to NBC Affiliate WCRB, there were no injuries and police do not believe the incident is related to the deadly shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church which also occurred Wednesday evening in Charleston, South Carolina.

No one inside the church heard anything due to the music, but church Deacon James Smith noticed the bullet hole around 8 p.m. after choir rehearsal dismissed.

Memphis police, who were not called to the scene until Thursday morning, have no suspects, but there have been recent reports of gang violence in the area around the church.

"There's so much going on in this day and time that it's just a shame that thing like that would happen," Smith told the television station.

Church Administrator Willie Slate said security at the church would be re-examined: "We don't want people to be in a place of worship and be in fear. People have no reverence for the home, family, and the church," Slate commented.

Slate also vowed the incident would not disrupt the church's mission in the community. "The harvest is plenteous and the laborers are few and those of us who are laboring must continue to labor," Slate said.

Church members told Memphis Fox Affiliate WHBQ it was a miracle no one was injured. The bullet penetrated the door, traveled down the corridor, finally lodging in a wall. The room where choir members were rehearsing was just to the left of the corridor.

Another church member reported that she could have been leading children down that hallway at the time of the incident had it not been for car trouble which interrupted her scheduled arrival at the church.

Kyev Tatum reported the incident on the church's Facebook page commenting, "BLACK CHURCHES MATTER Shots Fired at Memphis Baptist Church TOO."