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Tipsheet

Colorado Springs vs. Charleston: The Church Massacre That Ended Differently

In 2007, former police officer Jeanne Assam was working as a plain clothed security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. When a man showed up on Sunday armed to the teeth and ready to carry out a massacre, Assam drew her weapon and stopped him before he could kill anyone inside

A former police officer, Assam, 42, was on security duty Sunday morning at New Life Church here. Hours earlier, a 24-year-old who had been rejected from a missionary school in a Denver suburb had shot and killed two staffers there. Now he was spraying New Life's parking lot with gunfire and pushing through the doors to the sanctuary.

Assam hid and inched toward the gunman, Matthew Murray, as dozens of terrified worshipers fled. She waited until he got close enough, revealed herself, aimed her pistol and fired. Murray dropped to the ground. He was carrying an assault rifle, two pistols and a backpack holding more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

"I just prayed to the Holy Spirit to guide me," Assam said at a packed news conference Monday. "I give the credit to God. This has got to be God, because of the firepower he had versus what I have."

Authorities on Monday said Assam saved untold lives.

On Wednesday a racist man walked into Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, sat with black worshippers for and hour and then murdered nine of them.

The difference? Assam had the opportunity to fight back and saved lives. The Emanuel A.M.E. Church prohibits congregation members from carrying firearms and there are no reports showing security guards were on the scene at the time of the murders.

Could the church massacre in Charleston have been stopped? We'll never know, but we do know a similar tragedy was stopped somewhere else. 

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