A church shooting in Perth has raised questions about whether churches can protect themselves against potentially dangerous situations.
The shooting occurred on Sunday at Hillsong church in the south of Perth.
In a video posted on Facebook, church member Matthew Scott says he heard a loud bang and ran to a nearby house to find a man armed with a shotgun.
He said he thought it was a joke, but when he went back inside he found the man lying on the floor.
“It was just a complete shock, the shock of this being someone in our church who was there at a time like this,” he said.
Scott said the man shot and killed the man, then turned the gun on himself.
Police said the shooting occurred at the church in Hillsong, which is a residential community in the town of Runda.
Runda Mayor Gary Larkins said he had spoken to Hillsong pastor John Hillman, who said the church would have taken “a different approach” in this situation.
He said Hillsong would not be offering “a place of refuge” to anyone who needs to be moved from the premises.
The pastor said it was “unfortunate” that Hillsong was being targeted in the attack, but he was “extremely relieved” it had not resulted in any deaths.
“We have a long history of doing what we can to prevent gun violence in our community,” Mr Larkin said.
He said it would be inappropriate for Hillsong to “reject anyone” and urged people to stay away from the church.
Witnesses told the ABC the gunman was wearing a gas mask and had a gas rifle in his hands. “
The church and the community need to come together to support each other,” he added.
Witnesses told the ABC the gunman was wearing a gas mask and had a gas rifle in his hands.
But Mr Larkin said the gunman appeared to have acted alone and police were looking into whether he had an accomplice.
ABC local media reporter Matthew Stott said the house on which the shooting happened was in the Rundas backyard.
Mr Stott told the BBC that police were still looking into the circumstances of the shooting, but “at this stage, it seems a bit bizarre that this is happening in the suburbs”.
Mr Larkines statement about Hillsong’s stance on firearms was echoed by Mr Stott.
Hillsong has no firearms policy, but the church does have a “zero tolerance” policy for any kind of gun violence, he said, adding it was important to “protect our community and all of its people”.
Rudda Mayor’s statement on Hillsong shootings:Rundas town hall meeting starts at 6:00pm (AEST)The Rundans town hall will be discussing the Hillsong shooting and the church shooting.
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