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Phoenix Police leave the Roman Catholic church the Mother of Mercy Mission on Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Phoenix, gathering evidence and cleaning up after a Wednesday evening attack leaving a priest shot and killed and another injured. Police have no suspects at this point, but they are canvassing the neighborhood and going over physical evidence from the scene. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX -- Church crimes like the one that occurred in Phoenix Wednesday night have a national organization calling on leaders of places of worship to take up arms to protect themselves and their congregations.

In the Phoenix incident, two priests were attacked at a Roman Catholic church in the downtown area. Father Kenneth Walker was killed, while Father Joseph Terra was critically injured.

Chuck Chadwick is the founder and president of the National Organization for Church Security and Management (NOCSSM).

During a Saturday appearance on KTAR's Arizona's Morning News Weekend show, Chadwick told co-hosts Bob McClay and Becky Lynn that church crimes are happening all too often.

"There is no more sanctity of a church," Chadwick said.

He added that most of the crime at churches involves theft.

"It used to be that the only thing worth stealing in a church was the organ, which you couldn't get out, and the microphone," said Chadwick. "Now it's all sorts of high tech gear and projectors."

And then there's the money from the collection plate.

"We all know where the money is on Sunday night."

There's also a lot of domestic violence. Chadwick said that disagreements between married couples at home sometimes are manifested in a family fight at church.

Chadwick noted that police can't always get to a church in time to stop something bad from happening. He thinks the church needs to have someone who has a gun.

"You want to have at least one armed person in case something does happen," said Chadwick, who thinks that there's evidence in the Bible that churches should protect themselves.

He said that in Old Testament times, there were gatekeepers that watched over the temple.

That's the name of a part of the NOCSSM organization. Gatekeepers Security Services provides firearms training to church security teams.

"We go in and train at least one armed defender for every congregation," he said.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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