Many people consider the church to be sacred and hallowed ground but early Monday morning that wasn't the consideration when a quiet church community became the scene of a near deadly armed robbery attempt. It's the second in less than a week in the area.
"Nowhere is safe hardly anymore," said Michael Cousin, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church.
Police say a 19-year-old man is in critical but stable condition after being shot in the chest on Ewing Drive around 3:15 a.m. on Monday.
According to police, the 19-year old was walking with a 21-year-old friend on Ewing Drive when a dark-colored sedan pulled up in front of them.
A man jumped out and demanded money, and when the two tried to run away, police say the man shot the 19-year-old. His friend jumped into a ditch and called police. The car then drove off.
The gunman is described as a black male with dreadlocks.
Dr. Charles Covington lives next door to the Olivet Baptist Church. He said he was woken up by his dogs barking around the time of the shooting. He said he went outside to see what was going on, but couldn't see anyone because of the fog.
"It's mighty bad when you're living in a neighborhood and crime is growing," Covington said.
Last Thursday, just a few miles away, another young man, 26-year-old Nathaniel Zumwalt, was shot on his front porch on Ewingdale Drive during an attempted armed robbery.
A former teacher said Zumwalt is a musician who moved to Nashville to try to break into the music business.
"I taught Nathan guitar. And I just tell people, well I'm just a diamond miner, I don't make diamonds, I just shine them up. And when he came to me he was already a diamond," Jay Pilkington said.
Cousin said he sees these shootings as a troubling pattern involving young men.
"People do think that being at the church or being in front of the church might be a safer place, but of course, you have people that don't care about the church or anything," he said.
Cousin said he has worked with area youth for years helping to foster a GED program to combat a chart-topping school dropout problem. He's even helped get a former gang member off the streets and earn a GED and a job.
"He came down and joined the church one Sunday and gave me his bandana and told me that he was through with it," he said.
Cousin says on the day the church is scheduled to have a men's fellowship meeting, this shooting will certainly be on the agenda.
"Maybe this will be a wake-up call," he said.
Metro police say the two shootings are not related. Both victims are in critical but stable condition and are expected to recover. Anyone with information on these crimes are asked to call Metro police at 74-CRIME.
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