Stalking charge waged on man that interrupts church

Paul Milton Gabriel (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Paul Milton Gabriel (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - When Horry County Police officers responded to a Little River church on Sunday, May 26, they thought they were needed to settle down a disorderly male, but the police report states the situation was much more serious.

A deacon of the church and two other witnesses said that 59-year-old Paul Milton Gabriel walked in during a church service around 11 a.m. that Sunday to confront a 33-year-old man.

Two of the witnesses asked Gabriel to leave, escorting him to the parking lot where he said, "wait until I come back."

The report states he returned 30 minutes later with a gas can, making bystanders believe he intended to burn the building down. Gabriel was asked to leave again, and again Gabriel promised he would return.

That's when someone in the congregation called police.

The churchgoers then blocked both entrances to the parking lot and explained the situation to the police. Officers offered to stay in the parking lot until the church service was over, then Gabriel emerged from the woods, the report states.

A police officer approached Gabriel and his truck to find a rifle and two boxes of ammunition on the front seat.

When asked for his side of the story, Gabriel told the officer he had an issue with a musician in the church and he "was going to get him no matter what. [Gabriel] wasn't happy with the way [he] was sleeping with the woman of the parish."

Paul Gabriel was then handcuffed and taken to J. Reuben Long Detention Center where he was charged with stalking and entering premises after warning or refusing to leave on request.

Witness statements indicate the musician and Gabriel had a disagreement long before this incident that the pastor of the church was unable to resolve.

His bond was set at $5,475. Horry County Public Index records show Gabriel is due back in court on Sept. 6.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.