By Ross Guidotti

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BOLIVAR (KDKA) — A local church is thinking about beefing up security after shootings that occurred at churches in South Carolina and Texas.

Having members of a church congregation trained as a rapid reaction force to counter an active shooter inside a place of worship; it sounds incredible, but one Westmoreland County pastor says it has become an unfortunate necessity.

There are two instances of the modern-day American nightmare of mass church shootings.

On June 17, 2015, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, nine people died.

Then, on Nov. 5, 2017, First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26 people died.

That’s why Pastor Paul Lint is preparing to defend his flock if necessary by fighting fire with fire.

“It’s not something we relish or enjoy,” says Lint. “We’ve always had an open-door police. We’re a congregation, a church and please come. But now we have to face the facts. We have to do something to protect the sheep. That’s where we are today.”

Lint, the pastor of Beacon Independent Baptist Church, in Bolivar, is considering training some members in active shooter response.

“We’re planning to strategically place people in the congregation that would know what to do to intercept someone and those kind of things,” says Lint. “Everyone will be required to go through this complete 16-hour training course knowing exactly what to do in a church situation.”

Lint recently met with other pastors about forming a counter shooting security team and he says the idea is catching on and it has to.

“Any church needs to be prepared because when you think it won’t be you, that’s when it might be you. That’s the whole point,” he says.

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