DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County Police are trying to figure out who released pepper spray inside of the sanctuary at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church during service this week.
According to a police report, a person sprayed it in the air on Sunday, causing "people inside the church to cough and sneeze," with several complaining of eye irritation.
The pastor, Dr. Jamal Bryant, took to social media about the incident, posting a short clip that shows him speaking to the congregation from the pulpit.
"It's exactly at this moment two men unleashed pepper spray in a section of our sanctuary people were running out and I had no clue what was going on," he said in the Instagram post.
"Please don't let the enemy distract, just stay focused please," he says in the video to the crowd.
The DeKalb officer's narrative in the report says they told everyone to go outside to get away from the area. It also states that a woman, who complained she was having a hard time breathing, was taken to the hospital. Police said they searched the area for possible suspects, but they were gone.
"The enemy has crossed the line and now we fight back in the spirit realm," Bryant said in his post. He invited people to join the church in fasting Tuesday evening, along with attending a service that night.
"By the grace of GOD all 28 impacted yesterday are fine now," Bryant added in his Instagram post.
11Alive reached out to the church as well, and they provided the following statement:
"During Sunday’s service, we experienced an isolated incident that is currently under investigation by our security team and the DeKalb County Police Department. None of our members were injured and we thank the local first responders for promptly addressing this matter. We have initiated a full-scale review of our security procedures and protocols and we will exhaust ourselves to ensure New Birth remains a safe place to worship and fellowship."
Police said no arrests have been made yet; the case is still under investigation.