Billy Lewis, 65, allegedly stood up during Sunday school at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and stabbed a fellow parishioner sitting in the pew in front of him, as reported by The Huffington Post.
The unidentified victim had wounds to his neck, shoulder, and the back of his head. He was treated by a nurse who was attending the service before getting airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland medical center.
Sumter County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Ken Bell said that Lewis has a history of mental illness but had never before turned violent.
“There’d been no argument,” Bell said. “As far as we know, there’d been no animosity between the victim and the suspect.”
Lewis was charged by police with attempted murder and may face additional charges during his bail hearing on Monday.
“As bad as it was, we are fortunate it was not worse,” said Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the church members as well as the victim and his family and the suspect.”
The victim is reportedly in stable condition.
Read more at The Huffington Post.