(NewsNation) — A Missouri pastor likely saved his own church members from a potentially dangerous situation — while continuing with the service the entire time.
Pastor Marquaello Futrell of Ferguson was leading Sunday service at All Creation Northview Holiness Family Church in February when he noticed four young men come in and sit down toward the back of the church. He could tell they had guns in their waistbands.
One of the men had two bags. What they planned to do, the pastor still doesn’t know, but at that moment he kicked into action.
Without the gunmen knowing, Futrell got his audio-visual team to move the camera to capture their faces on the church’s livestream. He quietly alerted the church director to get the children to safety.
Futrell told local news outlet KDSK that he used his instincts as a former St. Louis police officer to start questioning the men, and calling them out.
“Who sent you all out here? You all just saw the church and decided to come? Let’s praise God for them coming,” Futrell said to the congregation.
While some church members understood what was happening, others never knew. As Futrell kept preaching to the gunmen, members of the church surrounded them and started praying.
“Will you guys permit me to pray for you? Let’s praise God and pray for them, we’re going to lay hands on them,” Futrell said, according to the livestream.
The four gunmen ended up walking out of the church without incident.
“I believe they felt the power of God lifted in their hands, then they left,” Futrell told KDSK. Altogether, he said to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, the men were there for 20 minutes.
“We found out later that one of those guys actually dropped his gun on the ground before I approached him to even pray for them,” Futrell said to Fox.
The Ferguson Police Department confirmed to KDSK that the four men left the church in a Black Dodge Charger with tinted windows. Police were still searching for them as of last week.
A message from NewsNation to the Ferguson Police Department’s spokesperson was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.