By Ayanna Suber, News Writer

Back in 2007, Junior Keri McQueen was in one of the scariest accidents of her life. McQueen was in her church parking lot in her car listening to music with her sister and a friend when they heard an accident happening across the street.

“A man had swerved into a pole; he had got out [of] the car limping, and he was holding his side,” McQueen said.

McQueen and her friend ran inside to get help for the man, but when they ran back outside to check on everything, that’s when things got scary.

“We ran inside to tell someone about the man, and we turned around to go back outside; the man was holding a gun to our heads,” McQueen said.

McQueen ran back inside the church to warn everyone that someone had a gun. When this happened the gunman turned back around and went toward McQueen’s car. McQueen’s sister was still in the car. The gunman tried to steal the car, but McQueen’s sister didn’t let him.

Everyone in the church was hiding behind the stairwell, so if the gunman came back to shoot, they wouldn’t be seen. He came back, and everyone was hidden except one person.

“One of the deaconesses was calling the police for help, but she was standing right in front of the door—the doors of our church are glass—so when the gunman saw that she was calling the police, he came in, grabbed her and held his gun up to her head,” McQueen said.

The gunman then proceeded to take the woman outside where he tried to hijack a taxi. The taxi driver hesitated to give the taxi up at first, but the gunman threatened him. Once he got the taxi he let the woman go and drove off in the taxi.

The gunman drove to a neighborhood next to the church and pulled up in the driveway of McQueen’s cousin’s house. Once the gunman got into the house, he held everyone in the house hostage.

“They called us and told us what was going on; we couldn’t believe it, and we were shocked,” McQueen said.

About an hour later the gunman let everyone go except McQueen’s aunt. McQueen’s aunt was held hostage for hours; police officers were coming in, and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) was called as well.

SWAT was trying to bargain with the gunman, but he didn’t want to comply. After waiting for hours, SWAT and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department took action. They barged into the home and pinned the gunman down, put him in handcuffs and escorted him out. Once the gunman was taken away, police went in and got McQueen’s aunt.

The gunman was sentenced to 40 years; he’s going back and forth between jails. McQueen and family are notified every time he moves.