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Bishop Lamor Whitehead says after $1M Brooklyn church robbery he wants clergy to carry guns

Bishop Lamor Whitehead cried as he recalled his ordeal, in Brooklyn on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS)

The Brooklyn minister who was robbed mid-sermon in his own church by gun-toting thieves who stole $1 million in jewelry from him and his wife urged elected officials to pass a law allowing clergy to carry guns to protect themselves and their congregations.

“They need to pass a law expeditiously that pastors of houses of worship — anyone on the ecclesiastical staff — need to be able to have permits for firearms,” said Bishop Lamor Whitehead, who was robbed in his Canarsie storefront church on Sunday. “If the teachers can have it, we should be able to have it.”

Bishop Lamor Whitehead speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS)

Such a law should even overlook the sins of his own past, said Whitehead, who served time in prison on an identity theft charge.

“No matter if we have a record, it should be exempt,” Whitehead said. “So we should be able to bear arms as the Constitution says.”

Cops said crooks stole about $1 million worth of jewelry when they burst into the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries on Remsen Ave. and forced Whitehead to the pulpit floor during the caught-on-camera caper.

Among the jewelry stolen on Sunday, according to police sources were: a $390,000 Cuban link chain, a $200,000 men’s gold chain, a $125,000 wedding ring, a $75,000 Rolex, a $75,000 Cavalier watch, a $50,000 wedding ring, a $25,000 Episcopal ruby and diamond ring, a $25,000 Episcopal diamond ring, a $25,000 pair of earrings, a $20,000 diamond and emerald cross, a $20,000 Episcopal ring, a $15,000 Episcopal cross and a $10,000 Episcopal gold cross.

Whitehead castigated the media for stories that highlighted his gold chains and Rolls Royce, saying the reports lured the crooks to his church. Whitehead said the thieves put a gun in his 8-month-old daughter’s face.

In a news conference outside the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, Whitehead said elected officials, including Gov. Hochul and President Joe Biden, should do more to help churches.

“I’m calling on every elected official that has power to protect houses of worship,” said Whitehead, who, at one point, was moved to tears.

“We need protection. We need you to sympathize with us. We don’t get the luxury of having firearms. All we’re asking is help us protect ourselves. Pass a law where we can carry our firearms, because this gun violence has gone to a new level.”

The NYPD released pictures of two of the alleged thieves on Wednesday.

Whitehead is being sued by a former congregant who claims he fleeced her out of her life savings. He denies the allegations.

Whitehead’s news conference was livestreamed on Instagram and Facebook, where critics questioned his priorities. If he can afford expensive jewelry and cars, they said, he can afford better protection for his church.

But Whitehead said he keeps his personal business and finance dealings separate from the church, which he said pays him no salary. What he offers his members, he said, is free financial training so they can learn to prosper, like he has.

“It’s about having multiple streams of income,” Whitehead said. “Everybody wants to box me in.”

Whitehead said he is an entrepreneur who made much of his money in real estate.

As for the value of the stolen jewelry, Whitehead declined to give what he said is the actual value because he doesn’t want to make himself any more of a target.

He made the news recently when he tried to orchestrate the surrender of Andrew Abdullah, the man accused of fatally shooting Goldman Sachs researcher Daniel Enriquez on the Q train, to the mayor.

After alerting the media, he showed up at the precinct where the suspect was to turn himself in. Whitehead was in a Rolls Royce, wearing a thick gold chain and Fendi blazer.

But police were skeptical and cops arrested Abdullah in front of his lawyer’s office.

Whitehead’s checkered past also raised a red flag, authorities said. He served five years in prison for a $2 million identity theft scam. He was released in 2013.

Still, Whitehead had nothing but praise for cops, who will be guarding his church when the doors open Sunday.

Though his own father, civic leader Arthur Miller, died in 1978 during a struggle with police, who used a billy club and a chokehold to restrain him, Whitehead said he works hand-in-hand with law enforcement today.

“I was upset when I was young that they took my father’s life,” Whitehead said. “But I was able to forgive, and now I have a relationship with them.”

Miller’s death sparked protests and petitions, but a grand jury refused to indict any of the officers involved.

Whitehead also urged the robbers to turn themselves in, and asked the community to help cops find them.

“Ain’t nobody that have any tough blood in their body is going to respect you for going into the church,” Whitehead said of the robbers. “Whoever is behind it, snitch on them, because what they did was wrong.”


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