The pastor of a Mount Airy church accused of brandishing a gun as part of his sermon is free on bond after being charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.
Jerry Wayne "Dusty" Whitaker, 58, of Mount Airy, was convicted in Virginia in 1990 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm during drug trafficking.
Members of Whitaker's Victory Baptist Church say they had no knowledge of his criminal background. Whitaker told them he was a retired Virginia state police officer and a retired U.S. marshal who was injured in the line of duty, said Garry Scearce, trustee chairman at Victory Baptist.
Whitaker denies ever telling anyone he was a marshal, but said he worked as a police officer for six years in Montgomery County, Va.
In September, Whitaker reportedly brought a handgun and a shoulder holster to a service.
"He was driving home his point," Scearce said. "He said he was no longer a pistol-toting U.S. marshal.' He was a pastor."
Whitaker said the gun was a toy prop.
"I use parables," he said. "Once I pretended to be a blind man with a cane, glasses and can with coins. Why didnt they arrest me for impersonating a blind man?"
Whitaker was arrested during church services Sunday. He was released Monday after posting a $20,000 bond.
i have no idea what he was thinking.Â very bad judgment, in my opinion.