In the aftermath of the two recent church shootings in Colorado, a real American hero has emerged. Anyone would be a hero in this situation but Jeanne Assam seems to be an unlikely heroine in the right place at the right time doing and saying all the right things. I couldn't help but be impressed by her poise, confidence and humility. We are grateful that she was able to end what surely what would have been a much more tragic situation. Though recent reports indicate the gunman took his own life, there is no doubt that she played the conclusive role in stopping his murderous rampage. She is my hero!
This is a remarkable story of individual heroism. Her actions saved the lives of perhaps hundreds of people that morning. It was by her own recommendation that they increase security that fateful morning. That is being both attentive and obedient to God's will.
Here is her testimony in her own words:
There was applause as Assam spoke to reporters and TV cameras saying, "God guided me and protected me."
When asked by a reporter if she felt like a hero, Assam said, "I wasn't just going to wait for him to do further damage."
"I give credit to God," she said.
Assam described how the gunman, Matthew Murray, entered the east entrance of the church firing his rifle.
"There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away, "I will never forget the gunshots. They were so loud."
"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."
"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."
Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused even though he appeared to be twice her size and was more heavily armed.
Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, said Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
"It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said.
Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.
Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.
Assam said she was ending three days of fasting on Sunday when fate put her in the path of the gunman.
"I was praying to God that he direct me" in what to do in life, Assam said. "God made me strong."
Amid deafening cracks of gunfire, smoke-spewing canisters and the flight of thousands of New Life Church members, Jeanne Assam said she suddenly saw the hallways clear and a gunman come through the door.
"I took cover. I identified myself. I engaged him. I took him down," the 42-year-old former law officer and volunteer church security guard said Monday at a news conference in the Colorado Springs police station.
"I just said, 'Holy Spirit, be with me.' I wasn't even shaking," Assam said. "I give the credit to God. I say this very humbly. God was with me."
Assam, a member of New Life for only a few months, admitted she had been without sleep since Sunday's midday shootings at Colorado's largest church.
Assam said she had just ended a three-day fast Sunday. During the fasting she prayed and asked God to help her decide what to do with her future and whether she should work again in law enforcement.
"I was weak," she said. "God made me strong. What was going through my mind is how awesome God is."
Quotes are taken from the following two articles: