Police arrested a couple at the site of the Sutherland Springs church shooting Monday in Texas for harassing the pastor and claiming that the shooting was staged.
The couple, Robert Ussery and Jodi Mann, confronted Frank Pomeroy, pastor of First Baptist church where a gunman killed 26 congregants in November 2017, claiming that government agents staged the shooting in concert with church leadership, according to The Associated Press. Pomeroy, who lost his daughter Annabelle in the shooting, told My San Antonio that Ussery threatened to hang him and urinate on him and claimed that Pomeroy’s daughter never existed.
Ussery “continually yelled and screamed and hollered and told me he was gonna hang me from a tree, and pee on me while I’m hanging,” Pomeroy told MySA.
“He said, ‘Your daughter never even existed. Show me her birth certificate. Show me anything to say she was here,'” Pomeroy added. “I just told him there was enough evidence already visible, so if he chooses not to see that, how would I know he would believe anything else?”
Mann is a known conspiracy theorist and has earned the online moniker “Conspiracy Granny,” while Ussery maintains a conspiracy theory website called Side Thorn on which he posts media coverage of mass shootings and self-filmed footage with which he tries to prove that the shootings, including Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Boston Marathon bombing, and other tragedies were hoaxes. Both Mann and Ussery filmed his entire Monday confrontation with them, Pomeroy told MySA.
Pomeroy saw the couple when he drove up to the church and chose to confront them when he saw them writing “The Truth Shall Set You Free” in large letters on a sign intended for people to write encouragements and condolences. Ussery shortly thereafter made his claims about the shooting being staged and Pomeroy’s daughter never existing. Pomeroy thought the couple was trying to bait him into doing something rash and trying “to play some angle.”
Pomeroy is convinced after speaking with Ussery, however, that the couple truly believe their claims.
“Before talking to him today, I thought he was trying to play some angle. But I think he’s truly demented. I think he truly believes his own rhetoric. I can’t explain it,” Pomeroy told MySA.
First Baptist congregants have been harassed by Ussery and Mann previously, and Pomeroy said he is glad authorities have finally arrested them.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has not commented on the arrest of Mann and Ussery or any potential charges, according to AP.
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