Winston-Salem pastor shot in the head by stray bullet while inside church

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem pastor is recovering after being shot in the head while inside his church.

Steve Smith, a pastor at New Story Church on Waughtown Street in Winston-Salem, had just finished a Monday night service.

An employee told FOX8 there were about 80 to 100 people inside the church at the time.

Police say around 8 p.m., a disturbance broke out between a group of men across the street from the church. One of the men pulled out a firearm and fired, they said.

“The service had just ended and we were on the way out of the church,” said Robert Thomason, who identified himself as a witness and member of the church.

Thomason and the aforementioned church employee said that the shot traveled through a front window of the church, through a bookcase or wall and hit Smith in the back of the head.

“I heard a gunshot and I see him fall to the floor,” Thomason said.

Luckily, witnesses say the bullet was slowed enough to not kill Smith.

“People were sort of hollering out a little bit, crying and everything,” Thomason said. “The look on their faces was pretty bad. They had a lot of anguish on their faces.”

The church’s Facebook page has been giving updates to Smith’s condition. It said that the bullet had cracked his skull, but did not touch his brain. They also say he underwent surgery.

“If the wall wouldn’t have been there, he would have probably been dead now,” Thomason said. “It’s a miracle, yeah; a miracle from God I think.”

A letter posted on the Facebook page from the other Pastor at the church said; "Ministry in a place like Waughtown is real. It’s raw. It can be frightening. And heartbreaking. But it’s also incredibly necessary. Sometimes taking Jesus’ love to the ends of the earth means taking it to a rough community in your own town. A place where crime happens. A place where kids are literally starving. A place where people get shot. A place that needs Jesus. Desperately."

It continued to say; "Last night, in the emergency room, Pastor Steve said to me, 'I guess Waughtown needs a New Story even more than we thought.' He’s right."

Police have not identified the man they believe fired the weapon.