NIXA, Mo. KSPR News is just learning the man who killed himself Saturday outside a Nixa church is from Springfield. It happened after an hours-long standoff with police.
"It's something you never expect. You come to church and it's supposed to be peaceful and everything's fine," said church elder, Michael Hunter.
In Nixa, Michael Hunter is counting his and other church members' lives as great blessings after a man with a gun had a stand off with officers…
"Just probably 20 feet away from our front door," Hunter said.
Officers blocked the front door immediately and led church members downstairs where Hunter gave the lesson.
"We just carried on like nothing was happening," Hunter continued. "I think that we just feel like we can't let things like this interrupt our worship."
Now Hunter said police officers were escorting people out here this way and they had three cars pull up at a time so people could get safely out.
"They were not there at the time when he subsequently took his life. They had been evacuated for almost two and a half hours," said Sergeant Krista Bullard, with Christian County Sheriff’s Office.
"He could've very well walked in our front door and then it would've been a different situation," Hunter.
He realizes now more than ever the importance of a safety plan and is rethinking whether guns should be allowed in his church.
"This is a sanctuary that we dedicated for worship service. To carry a firearm where you may harm or kill someone is a concern to us," said Hunter.
This is a big deal for this pacifist church.
"One of the commandments is thou shall not kill. The question comes back is there a difference between killing and murder?" Hunter asked.
Hunter hopes to prevent this from happening ever again.
"It's been a concern of our church because these things are going on more and more," finished Hunter.
Now elders at the church said not only are they going to be considering their parish members' souls, but they are also going to be considering their safety from now on in the future.
A public information officer with the Christian County Sheriff's Office said deputies did see the man kill himself. Counseling has been offered to those deputies. She also credits local law enforcement with now being on the same radio system with helping save church members' lives.
A man killed himself to end an hours-long standoff in Nixa with officers, deputies, and state troopers.
Deputies said the man shot himself to death right outside a church building on Highway 160 in Nixa where church members were holding services.
Seventh Day Adventist Church members in Nixa said they saw a man run across the field by their church building with deputies cornering him near the church. They said he killed himself at a tree just a few feet away from their church.
"We were sitting over here and the man was out to the east," said church elder, Michael Hunter.
Hunter was getting ready to preach when he and other church members saw a man running outside with a gun.
"It's something you never expect. You come to church and it's supposed to be peaceful and everything's fine. Other than taking basic safety cautions there's nothing you can really do about it," Hunter said.
Officers did come inside and escort church members safely to the basement.
Deputies said no one inside the church was hurt nor was anyone else in the community.
Authorities have not released the man’s name.