Jackson County prosecutors charged a 29-year-old convicted felon with shooting into a south Kansas City church Sunday, slightly injuring a church greeter.
Orlando L. Gentry of Kansas City was charged Tuesday with assault, possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and carrying a loaded firearm in the shooting at the House of Refuge church, 10816 Hillcrest Road.
Prosecutors said Gentry entered the church, got into an altercation with church members and fired multiple times. One of the bullets grazed the greeter in the head.
The greeter then fell through a window into the sanctuary. The greeter, reportedly identified as Montell Bruce, was treated at a hospital for what were described as injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
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Bruce told local television station KCTV-5 he was greeting worshippers when he heard an argument, then saw a man draw a gun.
“One wrong move and it could have been something else,” Bruce told the station. “My family was there. My son was there. I tried to grab him and throw him to the ground. I was trying to get the gun.
“I don’t know why I did it, but I did.”
According to court records, officers noticed several bullet holes in the interior of the church lobby that appeared to have been fired from two different locations. Detectives interviewed two separate groups. One group was family members of the church pastor and staff and the other was relatives of Gentry.
Family members of the pastor reportedly told detectives that Gentry was upset and came to the church and was confronted by church staff. They escorted Gentry to the church office. Gentry tugged at his pants.
Witnesses reportedly noticed a handgun in the waistband. Gentry allegedly pulled out a handgun as church staff wrestled him to the ground. Witnesses reportedly said Gentry fired several gunshots as he fled through the back door.
Gentry’s relatives said he argued and fought with several church members. They said Gentry fled through a back door when gunshots were fired. Relatives told investigators they did not see anyone with a gun, according to court records.
Gentry was arrested Monday and told investigators he was at the church and got into a fight in which he was unsure who hit him. He denied having a gun or firing shots.
Prosecutors requested bond be set at $100,000.
Court records showed that Gentry was convicted for involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident in 2009.
He had prior felony convictions for possessing firearms or ammunition and possessing a controlled substance.
The Star’s Toriano Porter contributed to this report.