Trinity Baptist Preacher Attacked While Praying In Chapel

Buckeye, WV – It’s hard for many people to imagine a more horrible crime- attacking someone in a church as they pray. That’s just what is alleged to have happened to 29 year old Pastor Aaron Trigg at the Trinity Baptist Church in Buckeye, West Virginia.

Trigg says as he was praying Tuesday morning at the church, two men in ski masks and full camouflage clothing entered the church, ambushed him and threw him into a mirror. They then knocked him to the ground and repeatedly kicked him. He told family members that while lying on the floor the men said, “We don’t need your kind messing with our county.” According to Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese, the assailants also damaged church property prior to attacking Trigg.

Following the attack, Trigg called his father-in-law Lloyd Arbogast and was subsequently transferred to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. Sheriff Jonese says members of his department responded along with the West Virginia State Police and interviewed the Pastor at the hospital. As of noon on Wednesday, Pastor Trigg had not been released. Sheriff Jonese says a possible pinched nerve in one of his legs may require further treatment in Charleston.

Trigg, who is African American, has been the Pastor at Trinity for four years and in that time the church’s congregation has tripled. He’s heavily involved in youth ministry and is the sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Pocahontas County HS. When contacted, PCHS Principal Tom Sanders said it’s a shame that this kind of incident can happen in this day and time, and students are understandably very upset. He says he hopes and prays that the assailants will be caught soon. Counselors at the high school are available to help the students.

Trigg is also strongly involved with the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition, an anti drug and alcohol abuse organization. Emails from members of that group expressing outrage and concern for Trigg and his family as well as lots of Facebook activity give a good indication of how shocked the community is that something like this could happen here. Marcie Vaughan of Seneca Health has offered their services to the Prevention Coalition in dealing with the emotional turmoil that may follow such an event. She says they have a crisis team ready to respond if requested. Fellow coalition member and attorney JL Clifton has also offered any resources at his disposal.

According to community members, Pastor Trigg and other members of the congregation had received threatening notes and what may be considered racially motivated threats against members of the African American community in Pocahontas. The Pocahontas County Sheriff’s dept is investigating the incident, with assistance from the West Virginia State Police.

The church was swept for fingerprints of the assailants and area residents were questioned. Sheriff Jonese says the evidence will be hand delivered to the state police lab in Charleston in hopes of identifying the assailants. The Sheriff says he was contacted by CNN this morning about the incident. The beating has not been declared a hate crime, but the FBI has been notified. PCSD Chief Deputy Dave Walton is in charge of the investigation with assistance from West Virginia State Police Trooper R.S. Weirich.

Thanks to WVVA in Bluefield for information in this report. We will update this story as more information becomes available.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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