SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. - One person was airlifted to a hospital after being stabbed several times by another parishioner during a church service, according to the Sumter County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies say the incident happened at around 9:23 a.m. at St. Paul A.M.E. Church located at 1495 North St. Paul Church Road, Wedgefield, SC.
Deputies say the victim, who is believed to be in his 60s, was stabbed by a person who was sitting behind him. Billy Lewis, 65, of Wedgefield is charged with attempted murder and there could be additional charges filed later.
Witnesses told deputies that Lewis stood up during service and began attacking the man for no reason. There was a nurse in attendance who rendered aid until emergency services arrived.
There were no other people injured.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the church members as well as the victim and his family and the suspect," says Sheriff Anthony Dennis. He says victim's advocates are providing assistance to those who witnessed the incident.
Deputies say Lewis does have a past history of mental issues, but not a violent past.