A Brooklyn bishop and his wife were robbed during a livestreamed sermon on Sunday after gunmen stormed the service and took about $400,000 worth of jewelry, New York City police said.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead was about to deliver his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in Canarsie around 11:15 a.m. when three gunmen burst in, the NYPD said.
The armed attackers “displayed firearms and demanded property” from the 44-year-old bishop and his wife, 38, police said.
“When I saw them coming into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everyone to get out, everyone out,” Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram after the incident. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church or just came for a robbery.”
He ended up saying he was grateful it was the latter, but said, “They took all my wife’s jewelry and all my jewelry,” including his wedding ring.
In a video shared online by local media, which appears to show the incident, which was captured on a livestream that appears to have since shut down, Whitehead can be heard saying, “All right, all right,” before stepping on hands and kneeling falls to the ground.
A masked suspect is later seen approaching the bishop and holding a firearm pointed at his back before appearing to get away with his jewelry. The video has not yet been independently verified by NBC News.
Police said the attackers stole jewelry totaling around $400,000 before fleeing the office on foot and getting into a white Mercedes Benz. They were last seen traveling eastbound on Avenue D, police said.
In his video posted to Instagram, Lamor said he tried to track the suspects after they escaped.
He said he hoped they would come forward over the incident, which he said left many in his community “traumatized”.
“The women and children who have been in my church, my daughter, she is traumatized right now. She doesn’t even speak,” he said.
The bishop also lashed out at comments and headlines calling him “flashy” with his jewelry in his livestreamed services.
“It’s not about me being conspicuous. It’s about me buying what I want to buy,” he said. “If I’ve worked hard for it, I can buy what I want to buy.”
Police said no physical injuries had been reported in connection with the robbery. They said an investigation is still ongoing.
Whitehead had made headlines in May after he said he was trying to negotiate the surrender of Andrew Abdullah, a 25-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of Goldman Sachs employee Daniel Enriquez, who was shot aboard a Q train bound for Manhattan.
However, Abdullah was arrested separately by the police.
Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/new-york-bishop-wife-robbed-400k-jewelry-heist-live-streamed-service-rcna39780 New York bishop and his wife rob in $400,000 jewelry robbery during livestreamed church service