Skip to Content

The man who allegedly tried shooting a pastor in the face at church is now charged with homicide in his cousin’s death

By Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) — Hours before Bernard Polite allegedly tried to kill a Pennsylvania pastor in front of his congregation Sunday, the suspect shot and killed his cousin at their home, police said.

Polite, 26, is now charged with criminal homicide in the death of Derek Polite, 56, and is awaiting arraignment. Even though the two were cousins, the suspect often referred to Derek Polite as his “uncle,” Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns said.

The motive for the killing in North Braddock remains unclear, Kearns said.

“There’s no indication there was any kind of disturbance in the residence. We saw no evidence that there was any type of altercation,” he said. “It appears the victim was shot as he was walking up the steps from the first floor to the second.”

Ballistics testing revealed the gun used to kill Derek Polite was the same gun recovered Sunday at nearby Jesus’ Dwelling Place Church, where Bernard Polite allegedly pointed a gun at Pastor Glenn Germany’s face and pulled the trigger, police said.

But the bullet got stuck in the gun’s chamber, and a church deacon managed to tackle the gunman before he could fire another shot.

The pastor told CNN he was shocked by how narrowly he missed getting shot in the head since the same gun proved to be deadly earlier in the day.

“The gun worked in the incident (involving) shooting his cousin to death,” Germany said.

“When he came down to the church, it was the same gun. And he pulled that (trigger),” the pastor said. “I thank God that the gun jammed. The police officer showed us because he took the (bullet) out of the chamber. It was stuck in the chamber. You can see the dents in the bullet where it was stuck.”

After the church deacon disarmed the gunman, Germany held the suspect to the ground and told him he forgave him before police arrived and arrested him early Sunday afternoon.

Bernard Polite faces charges of attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the church incident, court records show.

After learning about the church incident Sunday, concerned relatives went to the cousins’ home to check on Derek Polite “and discovered him deceased inside,” Allegheny County police said.

The police chief said a combination of ballistics evidence and witness statements helped link suspect Bernard Polite to both crime scenes.

“One witness for him (was) on the porch of the residence just before 10 a.m.,” Kearns said. “We had another witness who heard what they believed to be a gunshot around 10 a.m.”

Bernard Polite remains in custody at the Allegheny County Jail. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Monday.

CNN’s Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content