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Minister Charged With Firing Pistol

August 31, 1987

VERONA, Miss. (AP) _ A minister was charged with firing a pistol to chase off dissident members of his congregation before he began preaching Sunday.

The Rev. George L. Pritchard, 44, of Tupelo, pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, was charged with pointing, aiming and discharging a deadly weapon. He was freed on $1,000 bond.

Church member Gloria Gasaway said the church had voted Pritchard out as minister on three occasions and about 25 people confronted him outside before Sunday services.

She said Pritchard told them he would leave and went to his car, but returned with a pistol and fired two shots into the crowd. No one was injured.

Afterward, she said, the group dispersed and Pritchard went into church and conducted his regular service. He was arrested by deputies immediately following the services.

Gasaway said the incident stemmed from a long-running feud between two factions of the church, one which wanted to keep Pritchard as minister and another which wanted him out.

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