MILWAUKEE — Worshipers stepped out of Reformation of Holiness Church on Sunday only to find themselves nearly in the middle of a gunfight.
According to the church overseer, Bishop Henry Kilpatrick, the congregation first heard gunfire up the street. When they popped out to see what had happened, the shootout had reached the church at 21st and Chambers.
He said it was men in two cars shooting at each other.
"There's a lot of kids in the area. And I'm just thanking God that no one got shot today," said Kilpatrick. "Because they could have, the way the bullets were flying."
Kilpatrick said this was one of several shootings on the block this weekend, but it was by far the worst. Investigators marked off at least 17 shell casings, the closest just feet from the church's stoop.
Police have yet to release any information about their investigation. Kilpatrick claims it took officers more than an hour to respond. TMJ4 News has asked police to share their response time.
Kilpatrick and his late wife, Rose Kilpatrick, founded Reformation of Holiness 24 years ago. Now retired, Kilpatrick's second wife Alice, leads Sunday services.
"Most people would run away from an area like this," he said. "But this is an area God wants us in. An area you can witness to somebody and help better somebody else's life."
Kilpatrick said he wants an increased police presence in the area. And he'd like neighbors to speak out when they see something suspicious or a crime.
"53206 is one of the roughest areas in Milwaukee. I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here until the Lord takes me away. I be here," said Kilpatrick.