A teenager who barricaded himself inside his grandfather's church and held police at bay for four hours in April has pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness, but his grandfather, the Rev. Damon Roach, said the teen tried to kill him and should be charged with attempted murder.
The police standoff happened April 5, when 19-year-old Calvin Griffin barricaded himself inside First Christian Missionary Baptist Church at 6190 E. 38th St. Griffin surrendered to police after about four hours.
Roach said Griffin fired shots at him in the sanctuary before barricading himself in, but prosecutors defended their choice of charges.
"The nature of the shooting fell in the line of an accidental discharge during the chase through the church itself," said Deputy Prosecutor Gregory Spencer. "It didn't rise to the level of an intentional shooting that would be required for a higher charge."
Roach said Griffin is a troubled young man, and his plea deal doesnt fit the crime.
"He fired twice; they said he fired once," Roach said. "They are making it like I ran from him, but he fired at me in the sanctuary. They are letting him plead guilty to a misdemeanor, where he'll be out in two months. He is going to seriously hurt someone or someone is going to hurt him."
Laura Pitts, Griffin's attorney, admitted that her client made some mistakes.
"Unfortunately he chose a very bad way of handling that situation by showing up with a weapon," Pitts said. "On the other hand, there were some comments made by Pastor Roach that led him to believe he may have to protect himself."
Pitts was referring to a voice mail that Roach left for Griffin on March 28, a week before the standoff at the church.
"When I see you, you better have what you need to protect yourself," Roach said in the voice mail. "I'm going to tell you right now. You did the wrong thing. I'm telling you right now, have what you need."
Griffin pleaded guilty to a class D felony that could be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Roach plans to testify at Griffin's sentencing July 26.
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