WAXHAW – A deputy with the Union County Sheriff’s Office shot a suspect during a scuffle after the man yelled obscenities toward worshipers attending an outdoor service May 24 in the Oak Grove Baptist Church cemetery, officials said.
Christopher Eugene Ross, 54, of Newtown Road, will be transported to jail after his release from the hospital. He faces charges of disorderly conduct, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon against law enforcement officers and resist, delay and obstructing an officer.
Officials said Ross reportedly stood at the edge of his driveway, yelled during the service, threw rocks toward a church member trying to calm him down and resisted arrest while armed with a knife – even after a deputy used his Taser.
Officials said the struggle continued as a second deputy used his handgun, striking Ross at least twice.
A third deputy helped take Ross into custody.
The sheriff’s office received a call from Oak Grove Baptist Church earlier in the month concerning Ross yelling at members during a service. Officials said worshipers were blowing car horns during the service. Churchgoers had since stopped blowing horns, but have continued using a public address system, which officials said likely triggered Ross to interfere.
The sheriff’s internal affairs department will look into whether protocol was followed while the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the circumstances of the shooting.
The church will begin having service again in its sanctuary on May 31.
“I am so grateful to Jesus for His divine intervention,” the Rev. Rich Myers posted May 24 on the church’s Facebook page. “So thankful for dear Oak Grove church members who acted with Christian grace and service. Can’t put into words how thankful we are for Union County law enforcement and first-responders. We can’t thank you enough.”
Myers said the church is praying for the deputies and Ross.